Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Clearing: A poem about Place by Levertov

What lies at the end of enticing
country driveways, curving
off among trees? Often only
a car graveyard, a house-trailer,
a trashy bungalow. But this one,
for once, brings you
through the shade of its green tunnel
to a paradise of cedars,
of lawns mown but not too closely
of iris, moss, fern, rivers of stone rounded
by sea or stream,
of a wooden unassertive large-windowed house.
The big trees enclose
an expanse of sky, trees, and sky
together protect the clearing.
One is sheltered here
from the assaultive world
as if escaped from it, and yet
once arrived, is given (oneself
and others being a part of that world)
a generous welcome.
It's paradise
as a paradigm for how
to live on earth,
how to be private and open
quiet and richly eloquent.
Everything man-made here
was truly made by the hands
of those who live here, of those
who live with what they have made.
It took time, and is growing still
because it's alive.
It is paradise, and paradise
is a kind of poem; it has
a poem's characteristics:
inspiration; starting with the given;
unexpected harmonies; revelations.
It's rare among the worlds one finds
at the end of enticing driveways.
Denise Levertov
This Great Unknowing: Last Poems


Renee said...

I liked this poem when I read it on the Jan 10th Writer's Almanac (maybe where you saw it?) I really like the photo you put with it. Also, I thought of you today when I was listening to the Kojo Nnamdi show, which was discussing DC architecture with Roger Lewis http://thekojonnamdishow.org/shows/2011-01-13/shaping-city-roger-lewis
I particularly enjoyed his statement about the beauty of space between some buildings... and that being as important as the "fabric of the buildings". Put me in mind of my son telling me once when I suggested he put artwork above his sofa (the wall was completely blank): "Mom, you don't know the importance of white space." I do know... and value the importance of the spaces between... and moving toward... up the driveway. I enjoyed your sharing.

Our Founders said...

THANK YOU for your thoughtful comment; I'll check out this link, and tell your son how brilliant he is.

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Reya Mellicker said...

This is beautiful! Wow.

I come here via Facebook, through a friend I've never met in "real" life, who linked to you through her local NPR station.

I so love the circuitous routes of connection through the internets. Great to "meet" you. I live in Washington DC, a place that is very dear to me, in spite of its strange energy.

Very cool!