The Wealth of the Destitute

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)
More Poems by Denise Levertov