Monday, November 19, 2007

Fantastic poem

I heard this Denise Levertov poem on the radio yesterday. It seems to say something about the world right now, even though it was written some time ago.

Beginners

Dedicated to the memory of Karen Silkwood and Eliot Gralla

“From too much love of living,
Hope and desire set free,
Even the weariest river
Winds somewhere to the sea--“


But we have only begun
To love the earth.

We have only begun
To imagine the fullness of life.

How could we tire of hope?
-- so much is in bud.

How can desire fail?
-- we have only begun

to imagine justice and mercy,
only begun to envision

how it might be
to live as siblings with beast and flower,
not as oppressors.

Surely our river
cannot already be hastening
into the sea of nonbeing?

Surely it cannot
drag, in the silt,
all that is innocent?

Not yet, not yet--
there is too much broken
that must be mended,

too much hurt we have done to each other
that cannot yet be forgiven.

We have only begun to know
the power that is in us if we would join
our solitudes in the communion of struggle.

So much is unfolding that must
complete its gesture,

so much is in bud.

3 Comments:

Blogger Colin Will said...

A fine poem by one of my favourites. Thanks.

4:50 pm  
Blogger Verilion said...

Thanks for introducing me to this poem. It really is fantastic.

6:35 pm  
Blogger pgralla said...

Eliot was my brother, and the poem was dedicated to him because he died at a very young age --- shortly after graduating from college --- and had dedicated himself to social justice and making the world a better place. He knew Denise Levertov very well; he was a student of hers at Tufts University in the Boston area, and they worked together on various social issues. I can't tell you how gratifying it is to see the poem ge t more widely know.

9:32 pm  

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