Thursday, May 2, 2019

old joy

Come into animal presence
No man is so guileless as
the serpent. The lonely white
rabbit on the roof is a star
twitching its ears at the rain.
The llama intricately
folding its hind legs to be seated
not disdains but mildly
disregards human approval.
What joy when the insouciant
armadillo glances at us and doesn't
quicken his trotting
across the track and into the palm brush.
What is this joy? That no animal
falters, but knows what it must do?
That the snake has no blemish,
that the rabbit inspects his strange surroundings
in white star-silence? The llama
rests in dignity, the armadillo
has some intention to pursue in the palm-forest.
Those who were sacred have remained so,
holiness does not dissolve, it is a presence
of bronze, only the sight that saw it
faltered and turned from it.
An old joy returns in holy presence.

~ Denise Levertov
 from Poems: 1960-1967

She wrote: "I'm not very good at praying, but what I experience when I'm writing a poem is close to prayer. I feel it in different degrees and not with every poem. But in certain ways writing is a form of prayer."


atloveisaplace said...

more beauty to love. thank you.

erin said...

this reminds me of a conversation at james's site in regards to the goodness of nature:

and too it reminds me of something wendell berry says in an interview i watched just last night about the whole shooting match which he recognizes as holy. he says there are not sacred and unsacred places but sacred and desecrated places. levertov seems to see the natural world as berry might, or myself, as a reflection the whole, the all, the sacred. simply right.

the berry interview here:

(sorry, i forget how to link in comments.)