Friday, October 18, 2019

Autumn poems - Denise 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.

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