Wedding-Ring

By Denise Levertov 1923–1997 Denise Levertov
My wedding-ring lies in a basket
as if at the bottom of a well.
Nothing will come to fish it back up
and onto my finger again.
                                      It lies
among keys to abandoned houses,
nails waiting to be needed and hammered
into some wall,
telephone numbers with no names attached,
idle paperclips.
                      It can’t be given away
for fear of bringing ill-luck
                      It can’t be sold
for the marriage was good in its own
time, though that time is gone.
                      Could some artificer
beat into it bright stones, transform it
into a dazzling circlet no one could take
for solemn betrothal or to make promises
living will not let them keep? Change it
into a simple gift I could give in friendship?

Denise Levertov, “The Wedding-Ring” from Life in the Forest. Copyright © 1978 by Denise Levertov. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: Life in the Forest (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2002)

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Poet Denise Levertov 1923–1997

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

Subjects Living, Separation & Divorce, Relationships, Social Commentaries