St. Peter and the Angel

Denise Levertov

 
Delivered out of raw continual pain,
smell of darkness, groans of those others
to whom he was chained--
unchained, and led
past the sleepers,
door after door silently opening--
out!
    And along a long street's
majestic emptiness under the moon:
one hand on the angel's shoulder, one
feeling the air before him,
eyes open but fixed . . .
And not till he saw the angel had left him,
alone and free to resume
the ecstatic, dangerous, wearisome roads of
what he had still to do,
not till then did he recognize
this was no dream. More frightening
than arrest, than being chained to his warders:
he could hear his own footsteps suddenly.
Had the angel's feet
made any sound? He could not recall.
No one had missed him, no one was in pursuit.
He himself must be
the key, now, to the next door,
the next terrors of freedom and joy.
 
By Denise Levertov, from Oblique Prayers. Copyright © 1984 by Denise Levertov. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.

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,
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 Métier of Blossoming by Denise Levertov
Fully occupied with growing--that's
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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