Nov 3 – Denise Levertov “Ancient Airs & Dances”

Friday,  November 3   –   “Greyhaired, I have not grown wiser, unless to perceive absurdity is wisdom.”

The sun came out for Friday in this work week.   Autumn’s about 1/3 finished (if you count from the equinox in September to the winter solstice in December);  these past days of blustery (some might say “cold!”)  tough winds  began to feel like November.      Today though,, announces a surprise blessing;  bright sunshine, light wind gusts, clean dry air.

Why does all this end-of-work-week beauty remind me of Denise Levertov’s poem about falling in love as an elderly woman?   The poem is as improbably playful, as are these days while the season begins to dance away from the last bits of summer and into serious autumn —  leaf-poetry above where we walk.  Maybe that’s why Denise caught my attention.

Best to read the poem out loud with pauses.   Have a blest weekend.

john sj

today’s post  “Ancient Airs and Dances”


I knew too well
what had befallen me
when, one night, I put my lips to his wineglass
after he left–an impulse I thought was locked away with a smile
into memory’s museum.

When he took me to visit friends and the sea, he lay
asleep in the next room’s dark where the fire
rustled all night; and I, from a warm bed, sleepless,
watched through the open door
that glowing hearth, and heard,
drumming the roof, the rain’s
insistent heartbeat.

Greyhaired, I have not grown wiser,
unless to perceive absurdity
is wisdom. A powerless wisdom.


Shameless heart! Did you not vow to learn
stillness from the heron
quiet from the mists of fall,
and from the mountain–what was it?
Pride? Remoteness?
You have forgotten already!
And now you clamor again
like an obstinate child demanding attention,
interrupting study and contemplation.
You try my patience. Bound as we are
together for life, must you now,
so late in the day, go bounding sideways,
trying to drag me with you?

Denise Levertov – Evening Train

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