The Ache of Marriage

By Denise Levertov 1923–1997 Denise Levertov
The ache of marriage:

thigh and tongue, beloved,   
are heavy with it,   
it throbs in the teeth

We look for communion
and are turned away, beloved,   
each and each

It is leviathan and we   
in its belly
looking for joy, some joy   
not to be known outside it

two by two in the ark of   
the ache of it.

Denise Levertov, “The Ache of Marriage” from Poems 1960-1967. Copyright © 1966 by Denise Levertov. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation, www.wwnorton.com/nd/welcome.htm.

Source: Selected Poems (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2002)

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Poet Denise Levertov 1923–1997

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

Subjects Men & Women, Love, Marriage & Companionship, Living, Relationships, Realistic & Complicated

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Denise  Levertov

Biography

During the course of a prolific career, Denise Levertov created a highly regarded body of poetry that reflects her beliefs as an artist and a humanist. Her work embraces a wide variety of genres and themes, including nature lyrics, love poems, protest poetry, and poetry inspired by her faith in God. "Dignity, reverence, and strength are words that come to mind as one gropes to characterize . . . one of America's most respected . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Men & Women, Love, Marriage & Companionship, Living, Relationships, Realistic & Complicated

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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