The Wealth of the Destitute

By Denise Levertov 1923–1997 Denise Levertov
How gray and hard the brown feet of the wretched of the earth.
How confidently the crippled from birth
push themselves through the streets, deep in their lives.
How seamed with lines of fate the hands
of women who sit at streetcorners
offering seeds and flowers.
How lively their conversation together.
How much of death they know.
I am tired of ‘the fine art of unhappiness.’

Denise Levertov, “The Wealth of the Destitute” from Poems 1972-1982. Copyright © 1975 by Denise Levertov. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: Poems 1972-1982 (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2002)

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Poet Denise Levertov 1923–1997

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

Subjects Social Commentaries, Money & Economics, Class

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 Social Commentaries, Money & Economics, Class

SCHOOL / PERIOD Black Mountain

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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