Denise Levertov Quotes


At Delphi I prayed to Apollo that he maintain in me the flame of the poem and I drank of the brackish spring there....

blue bead on the wick there's that in me that burns and chills blackening my heart with its soot I think sometimes not Apollo heard me but a different god.

What joy when the insouciant armadillo glances at us and doesn't quicken his trotting across the track into the palm brush. What is this joy? That no animal falters but knows what it must do?

There comes a time when only anger is love.

breathe the sweetness that hovers in August ...

Insofar as poetry has a social function it is to awaken sleepers by other means than shock.

Each part of speech a spark awaiting redemption each a virtue a power in abeyance....

It's when we face for a moment the worst our kind can do and shudder to know the taint in our own selves that awe cracks the mind's shell and enters the heart.

we are so many and many within themselves travel to far islands but no one asks for their story....

It is fatal to one's artistic life to talk about something this is in process.

Nothing we do has the quickness the sureness the deep intelligence living at peace would have.

Affliction is more apt to suffocate the imagination than to stimulate it.

I learn to affirm Truth's light at strange turns of the mind's road wrong turns that lead over the border into wonder....

I watch the clouds as I see them in pomp advancing pursuing the fallen sun.

Do you mistake me? I am speaking of living of moving from one moment into the next and into the one after breathing death in the spring air....

The artist must create himself or be born again.

We call it "Nature"; only reluctantly admitting ourselves to be "Nature" too.

Mediocrity is perhaps due not so much to lack of imagination as to lack of faith in the imagination lack of the capacity for this abandon.

So absolute it is no other than happiness itself a breathing too quiet to hear.

The vast silence of Buddha overtakes and overrules the oncoming roar of tragic life that fills alleys and avenues; it blocks the way of pedicabs police convoys.

The last cobwebs of fog in the black firtrees are flakes of white ash in the world's hearth.

Let the space under the first storey be dark let the water lap the stone posts and vivid green slime glimmer upon them; let a boat be kept there.

Mountain mountain mountain marking time. Each nameless wall beyond wall wavering redefinition of horizon.

Let me walk through the fields of paper touching with my wand dry stems and stunted butterflies....

Among a hundred windows shining dully in the vast side of greater-than-palace number such-and-such one burns these several years each night as if the room within were aflame.

Wear scarlet! Tear the green lemonsoff the tree! I don't wantto forget who I am what has burned in me and hang limp and clean an empty dress -

We must breathe time as fishes breathe water.

Don't eat those nice green dollars your wife gives you for breakfast.

Praise the invisible sun burning beyond the white cold sky giving us light and the chimney's shadow.

slowly the pale dew-beads of light lapped up from flowers can thicken darken to gold: honey of the human.

But we have only begun to love the earth. We have only begun to imagine the fullness of life. How could we tire of hope?-so much is in bud.

my pleasure was in the strength of my back in my noble shoulders the cool smooth flesh cylinders of my arms.

Peace as a positive condition of society not merely as an interim between wars is something so unknown that it casts no images on the mind's screen.

In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.

You have come to the shore. There are no instructions.

Marvelous Truth confront us at every turn in every guise.

Two girls discover the secret of life in a sudden line of poetry.

I like to find what's not found at once but lies within something of another nature in repose distinct.

Beespittle droppings hairs of beefur: all become honey. Virulent micro-organisms cannot survive in honey.

Grief is a hole you walk around in the daytime and at night you fall into it.

Hypocrite women how seldom we speak of our own doubts while dubiously we mother man in his doubt!

Both art and faith are dependent on imagination; both are ventures into the unknown.

Love is a landscape the long mountains define but don't shut off from the unseeable distance.

In city in suburb in forest no way to stretch out the arms - so if you would grow go straight up or deep down.

We have the words in our pockets obscure directions. The old ones have taken away the light of their presence....

I'll dig in into my days having come here to live not to visit. Grey is the price of neighboring with eagles of knowing a mountain's vast presence seen or unseen.

The stairway is not a thing of gleaming strands a radiant evanescence for angels' feet that only glance in their tread and need not touch the stone.

Every day every day I hear enough to fill a year of nights with wondering.

If woman is inconstant good I am faithful to ebb and flow I fall in season and now is a time of ripening.

Through the hollow globe a ring of frayed rusty scrapiron is it the sea that shines? Is it a road at the world's edge?

The threat of world's end is the old threat.

Very few people really see things unless they've had someone in early life who made them look at things. And name them too. But the looking is primary the focus.

Images split the truth in fractions.

And our dreams with what frivolity we have pared them like toenails clipped them like ends of split hair.

There's in my mind a... turbulent moon-ridden girl or old woman or both dressed in opals and rags feathers and torn taffeta who knows strange songs but she is not kind.

The fire in leaf and grass so green it seems each summer the last summer.

There is no savor more sweet more salt than to be glad to be what woman and who myself I am...

I'm not very good at praying but what I experience when I'm writing a poem is close to prayer.

What I heard was my whole self saying and singing what it knew: I can.

What joy when the insouciant

In June the bush we call alder was heavy listless its leaves studded with galls growing wherever we didn't want it.

Teachers at all levels encourage the idea that you have to talk about things in order to understand them because they wouldn't have jobs otherwise. But it's phony you know.

One of the obligations of the writer is to say or sing all that he or she can to deal with as much of the world as becomes possible to him or her in language.

The world is not with us enough. O taste and see.

But for us the road unfurls itself we don't stop walking we know there is far to go.