Making Peace

POETRY FORMAT, 11 September 2017

Denise Levertov | Poetry Foundation – TRANSCEND Media Service

A voice from the dark called out,
‘The poets must give us
imagination of peace, to oust the intense, familiar
imagination of disaster. Peace, not only
the absence of war.’

But peace, like a poem,
is not there ahead of itself,
can’t be imagined before it is made,
can’t be known except
in the words of its making,
grammar of justice,
syntax of mutual aid.

A feeling towards it,
dimly sensing a rhythm, is all we have
until we begin to utter its metaphors,
learning them as we speak.

A line of peace might appear
if we restructured the sentence our lives are making,
revoked its reaffirmation of profit and power,
questioned our needs, allowed
long pauses . . .

A cadence of peace might balance its weight
on that different fulcrum; peace, a presence,
an energy field more intense than war,
might pulse then,
stanza by stanza into the world,
each act of living
one of its words, each word
a vibration of light—facets
of the forming crystal.
_____________________________________________

From Breathing the Water, Copyright © 1987, New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Go to Original – poetryfoundation.org

 

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One Response to “Making Peace”

  1. Gary Corseri. says:

    Peace, like a poem, can’t be imagined whole-cloth! We work towards peace the way we work towards writing and polishing a poem–bit by bit, line by line; sometimes, large chunks of it; sometimes, a metaphor, a “feeling,” a rhythm. Beautifully summed up in the last 3 lines:

    …each word
    a vibration of light—facets
    of the forming crystal.

    Levertov was one of the great American poets of the 20th Century. Her body is gone and missed; the body of her work remains….

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