Seeing for a Moment

By Denise Levertov 1923–1997 Denise Levertov
I thought I was growing wings—
it was a cocoon.

I thought, now is the time to step   
into the fire—
it was deep water.

Eschatology is a word I learned
as a child: the study of Last Things;

facing my mirror—no longer young,
       the news—always of death,
       the dogs—rising from sleep and clamoring   
            and howling, howling,

nevertheless
I see for a moment   
that's not it: it is   
the First Things.

Word after word
floats through the glass.   
Towards me.

Denise Levertov, “Seeing for a Moment” from Oblique Prayers. Copyright © 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984 by Denise Levertov. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation, www.wwnorton.com/nd/welcome.htm.

Source: Oblique Prayers (1984)

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Poet Denise Levertov 1923–1997

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

Subjects Religion

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 Religion

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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