Here's the opening of "For Instance":
Often, it's nowhere special: maybeLevertov is a poet who trusts the twists and turns of her sentences; a poet of elegy and moral rectitude, with a graciousness of gaze; who forgives and does not forgive. I copied out her poems, and outside my window two crows argued; a mob of bees bumbled among the thyme flowers; the cat tore apart a frog.
a train rattling not fast or slow
from Melbourne to Sydney, and the light's fading,
we've passed that wide river remembered
from a tale about boyhood and fatal love, written
in vodka prose, clear and burning--
"Once a woman went into the woods," writes Levertov, in "Sound of the Axe."
The birds were silent. Why? she said.If the birds were silent, who were "they"? The poem has no interest in answering that question.
Thunder, they told her,
Today will be another day of cloud and sun and rain and wind. The heavens are chaotic this week. The clothes on the line have been wet for three days, and the lettuce in the garden is coated with mud. I am trying to be a good girl, to do my work, to extract patience, though I am too old to be a girl. I imagine cultivating a fine carelessness.
"Everything is threatened," writes Levertov, in "In the Woods,"
but meanwhileFor now, the air is quiet, but already clouds arrange their formations, a regimental swirl blotting the hapless blue. I should close my eyes and work.
everything presents itself:
the trees, that day and night
steadily stand there, amassing
lifetimes and moss.