by Denise Levertov
Original Language English
(The Book of Hours, Book I, Poem 1, Stanza 1)*
A certain day became a presence to me;
there it was, confronting me -- a sky, air, light:
a being. And before it started to descend
from the height of noon, it leaned over
and struck my shoulder as if with
the flat of a sword, granting me
honor and a task. The day's blow
rang out, metallic -- or it was I, a bell awakened,
and what I heard was my whole self
saying and singing what it knew: I can.
-- from Breathing the Water, by Denise Levertov
*Commentary by Ivan M. Granger
The Rilke verse referenced is--
The hour is striking so close above me,
so clear and sharp,
that all my senses ring with it.
I feel it now: there's a power in me
to grasp and give shape to my world.
(translation by Anita Barrows & Joanna Macy)
Poetry Chaikhana | Denise Levertov - Variation On A Theme By Rilke