You have come to the shore. There are no instructions.

— Denise Levertov

The most astonishing Denise Levertov quotes that are simple and will have a huge impact on you

Both art and faith are dependent on imagination; both are ventures into the unknown.

59

I thought I was growing wings— it was a cocoon.

I thought, now is the time to step into the fire— it was deep water. Eschatology is a word I learned as a child: the study of Last Things; facing my mirror—no longer young, the news—always of death, the dogs—rising from sleep and clamoring and howling, howling.... ("Seeing For a Moment")

50

Nothing we do has the quickness, the sureness, the deep intelligence living at peace would have.

43

A poet articulating the dreads and horrors of our time is necessary in order to make readers understand what is happening, really understand it, not just know about it but feel it: and should be accompanied by a willingness on the part of those who write it to take additional action towards stopping the great miseries which they record.

40

Grief is a hole you walk around in the daytime and at night you fall into it.

34

Marvelous Truth, confront us at every turn, in every guise.

27

Insofar as poetry has a social function it is to awaken sleepers by other means than shock.

23

But we have only begun to love the earth.

We have only begun to imagine the fullness of life. How could we tire of hope?-so much is in bud.

18

The poem has a social effect of some kind whether or not the poet wills it to have. It has a kenetic force, it sets in motion...elements in the reader that would otherwise remain stagnant.

12

The AvowalAs swimmers dareto lie face to the skyand water bears them,as hawks rest upon airand air sustains them;so would I learn to attain freefall, and floatinto Creator Spirit's deep embrace,knowing no effort earnsthat all-surrounding grace.

10

Mediocrity is perhaps due not so much to lack of imagination as to lack of faith in the imagination, lack of the capacity for this abandon.

10

At Delphi I prayed to Apollo that he maintain in me the flame of the poem and I drank of the brackish spring there.

10

About Denise Levertov

Quotes 80 sayings
Profession Poet
Birthday October 24, 1923

I learn to affirm Truth's light at strange turns of the mind's road, wrong turns that lead over the border into wonder.

8

If woman is inconstant, good, I am faithful to ebb and flow, I fall in season and now is a time of ripening.

6

You can live for years next door to a big pine tree, honored to have so venerable a neighbor, even when it sheds needles all over your flowers or wakes you, dropping big cones onto your deck at still of night.

6

Peace as a positive condition of society, not merely as an interim between wars, is something so unknown that it casts no images on the mind's screen.

5

The last cobwebs of fog in the black firtrees are flakes of white ash in the world's hearth.

5

Very few people really see things unless they've had someone in early life who made them look at things. And name them too. But the looking is primary, the focus.

5

There comes a time when only anger is love.

4

Images split the truth in fractions.

3

The artist must create himself or be born again.

3

Rain-diamonds, this winter morning, embellish the tangle of unpruned pear-tree twigs; each solitaire, placed, it appears, with considered judgement, bears the light beneath the rifted clouds - the invisible shared out in endless abundance.

3

In the dark I rest, unready for the light which dawns day after day, eager to be shared. Black silk, shelter me. I need more of the night before I open eyes and heart to illumination. I must still grow in the dark like a root not ready, not ready at all.

3

Breathe the sweetness that hovers in August.

3

The stairway is not a thing of gleaming strands a radiant evanescence for angels' feet that only glance in their tread, and need not touch the stone.

1

Writing poetry is a process of discovery.

..you can smell the poem before you see it....Like some animal.

1

Each part of speech a spark awaiting redemption, each a virtue, a power in abeyance.

0

In June the bush we call alder was heavy, listless, its leaves studded with galls, growing wherever we didn't want it.

0

Don't eat those nice green dollars your wife gives you for breakfast.

0

We call it "Nature"; only reluctantly admitting ourselves to be "Nature" too.

0

Wear scarlet! Tear the green lemons off the tree! I don't want to forget who I am, what has burned in me, and hang limp and clean, an empty dress -

0

I'm not very good at praying, but what I experience when I'm writing a poem is close to prayer.

0

I like to find what's not found at once, but lies within something of another nature, in repose, distinct.

0

What I heard was my whole self saying and singing what it knew: I can.

0

I watch the clouds as I see them in pomp advancing, pursuing the fallen sun.

0

Among a hundred windows shining dully in the vast side of greater-than-palace number such-and-such one burns these several years, each night as if the room within were aflame.

0

When you're really caught up in writing a poem, it can be a form of prayer.

I'm not very good at praying, but what I experience when I'm writing a poem is close to prayer. I feel it in different degrees and not with every poem. But in certain ways writing is a form of prayer.

0

Beespittle, droppings, hairs of beefur: all become honey.

Virulent micro-organisms cannot survive in honey.

0

Praise the invisible sun burning beyond the white cold sky, giving us light and the chimney's shadow.

0

blue bead on the wick, there's that in me that burns and chills, blackening my heart with its soot, I think sometimes not Apollo heard me but a different god.

0

So absolute, it is no other than happiness itself, a breathing too quiet to hear.

0

There is no savor more sweet, more salt than to be glad to be what, woman, and who, myself, I am.

0

We must breathe time as fishes breathe water.

0

Love is a landscape the long mountains define but don't shut off from the unseeable distance.

0

Teachers at all levels encourage the idea that you have to talk about things in order to understand them, because they wouldn't have jobs, otherwise. But it's phony, you know.

0

It's when we face for a moment the worst our kind can do, and shudder to know the taint in our own selves, that awe cracks the mind's shell and enters the heart.

0

There's in my mind a... turbulent moon-ridden girl or old woman, or both, dressed in opals and rags, feathers and torn taffeta, who knows strange songs but she is not kind.

0

Mountain, mountain, mountain, marking time.

Each nameless, wall beyond wall, wavering redefinition of horizon.

0

The vast silence of Buddha overtakes and overrules the oncoming roar of tragic life that fills alleys and avenues; it blocks the way of pedicabs, police, convoys.

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