POETRY: This Day by Denise Levertov

This Day by Denise Levertov


Dry wafer,
sour wine.

This day I see
God’s in the dust,
not sifted

out from confusion.


Perhaps, I thought,
passing the duckpond,
perhaps—seeing the brilliantly somber water
deranged by lost feathers and bits of
drowning bread—perhaps
these imperfections (the ducklings
practised their diving,
stylized feet vigorously cycling among débris)
are part of perfection,
a pristine nuance? our eyes
our lives, too close to the canvas,
enmeshed within
the turning dance,
to see it?


In so many Dutch 17th-century paintings
one perceives
a visible quietness, to which the concord
of lute and harpsichord contribute,
in which a smiling conversation
‘calme, luxe,” and—in auburn or mercurial sheen
of vessels, autumnal wealth
of fur-soft table-carpets,
blue snow-gleam of Delft—
‘volupte’; but also the clutter
of fruit and herbs, pots, pans, poultry,
strewn on the floor: and isn’t
the quiet upon them too, in them and of them,
aren’t they wholly at one with the wonder?


Dry wafer,
sour wine:

this day I see

the world, a word
intricately incarnate, offers—
ravelled, honeycombed, veined, stained—
what hunger craves,

a sorrel grass,
a crust,

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