Denise Levertov

To Olga

When the last sunlight had all seeped
down behind the woods and taken
colors and shadows with it, leaving us
not in darkness but in
the presence of an absence, with everything
still visible but
empty of soul—

when we nudged on knowing our home was
miles and hours away and the real dark
overtaking us, and mother and father waiting
anxious by now and soon
growing angry because again
we’d traveled too far out and away, leaving
almost as if
not to return—

what did you, almost grown up, feel
as we spoke less and less, too tired
for fantasy? I was afraid for them,
for their fear and of
its show of anger, but not of the night.
I felt the veil
of sadness descend

but I was never afraid for us,
we were benighted but not lost, and I trusted
utterly that at last,
however late, we’d get home.
No owl, no lights, the dun ridges
of ploughland fading. No matter.
I trusted you.

But you? Irritably you’d ask me
why I was silent. Was it because
you felt untrusted, or had no trust
in yourself? Could it,
could it have been that
you, you were afraid,
my brave, my lost