Friday, October 18, 2019

Autumn poems - Levertov's "The Coming Fall"

Another autumn poem.
From Denise Levertov’s book 
O Taste & See.

What I like the most about the poem is the very last section, the last three lines. There’s a play on “Fall” in the title: Meaning autumn, yes, but also a humorous reference to the fall in the Bible.

A celebration of Fall,
literally and in all senses.

The Coming Fall

The eastern sky at sunset taking
The glow of the west:
            The west a clear stillness.

The east flinging
nets of cloud
to hold the rose light a moment longer:
                        The western hill dark to blackness.

The ants
on their acropolis
prepare for the night.


The vine among the rocks
heavy with grapes

the shadows of September
among the gold glint of the grass

among shining
willow leaves the small birds moving

silent in the presence of a new season.


In the last sunlight
human figures dark on a hill
outlined –

a fur of gold
about their shoulders and heads,
a blur defining them.


Down by the fallen fruit in the old orchard
the air grows cold. The hill
hides the sun.

A sense of the present
rises out of earth and grass,
enter the feet, ascends

into the genitals, constricting
the breast, lightening
the head – a wisdom,

a shiver, a delight
that what is passing

is here, as if
a snake went by, green in the
gray leaves.

There should be a Levertov revival right about now. 

Denise Levertov (1923-1997)

A shiver, a delight...that what is passing is here.