The Métier of Blossoming

Denise Levertov

 
Fully occupied with growing--that's
the amaryllis. Growing especially
at night: it would take
only a bit more patience than I've got
to sit keeping watch with it till daylight;
the naked eye could register every hour's
increase in height. Like a child against a barn door,
proudly topping each year's achievement,
steadily up
goes each green stem, smooth, matte,
traces of reddish purple at the base, and almost
imperceptible vertical ridges
running the length of them:
Two robust stems from each bulb,
sometimes with sturdy leaves for company,
elegant sweeps of blade with rounded points.
Aloft, the gravid buds, shiny with fullness.
One morning--and so soon!--the first flower
has opened when you wake. Or you catch it poised
in a single, brief
moment of hesitation.
Next day, another,
shy at first like a foal,
even a third, a fourth,
carried triumphantly at the summit
of those strong columns, and each
a Juno, calm in brilliance,
a maiden giantess in modest splendor.
If humans could be
that intensely whole, undistracted, unhurried,
swift from sheer
unswerving impetus! If we could blossom
out of ourselves, giving
nothing imperfect, withholding nothing!
 
By Denise Levertov, from This Great Unknowing: Last Poems. Copyright © 1998 by The Denise Levertov Literary Trust, Paul A. Lacey and Valerie Trueblood Rapport, Co-Trustees. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Poems by This Author

Ikon: The Harrowing of Hell by Denise Levertov
Down through the tomb's inward arch
In California During the Gulf War by Denise Levertov
Among the blight-killed eucalypts, among
Losing Track by Denise Levertov
Long after you have swung back
Mass for the Day of St. Thomas Didymus [excerpt] by Denise Levertov
Praise the wet snow
Sojourns in the Parallel World by Denise Levertov
We live our lives of human passions,
St. Peter and the Angel by Denise Levertov
Delivered out of raw continual pain,
The Broken Sandal by Denise Levertov
Dreamed the thong of my sandal broke
The Great Black Heron by Denise Levertov
Since I stroll in the woods more often
The Mutes by Denise Levertov
Those groans men use
The Secret by Denise Levertov
Two girls discover
The Sharks by Denise Levertov
Well then, the last day the sharks appeared
When We Look Up by Denise Levertov
He had not looked


Further Reading

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