Tunes for a Monday Morning
In the quiet of the woods

A blessing for a Tuesday afternoon

River 1

A Blessing 
by Denise Levertov (1923-1997)

'Your river is in full flood,' she said,
'Work on - use these weeks well!'

River 2

She was leaving, with a springy step, a woman
herself renewed, her life risen

River 3

up from the root of despair she'd
bent low to touch,

River 4

risen empowered. Her work now
could embrace more: she imagined anew

River 5

the man's totem tree and its taproot,
the woman's chosen lichen, patiently

River 6

composting rock, another's
needful swamp, the tribal migrations - 

River 7

swaying skeins rotating their leaders,
pace unflagging, and the need

River 8

of each threatened thing
to be. She had met

River 9

River 10

with the council
of all beings.

River 11

                                    'You give me my life,'
she said to the just-written poems,

River 12

long-legged foals surprised to be standing.

Dartmoor pony and foal

The poet waving farewell
is not so sure of the river.

Pony in the mist

Is it indeed
strong-flowing, generous? Was there largesse
for alluvial, black, seed-hungry fields?

Dartmoor pony and foal

Or had a flash-flood
swept down these tokens
to be plucked ashore, rescued

Tilly and the pony 1

only to watch the waters recede
from stones of an arid valley?

Tilly and the pony 2

But the traveler's words
are leaven. They work in the poet.

Crossing the field

The river swiftly
goes on braiding its heavy tresses,

brown and flashing
as far as the eye can see.

Home through the lanes

The poem above is from The Collected Poems of Denise Levertov (New Directions, 2013). The poem in the picture captions is from Mary Oliver: New and Selected Poems, Vol. 1  (Beacon Press,2004). All rights reserved by the Levertov and Oliver estates. 

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