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Adam's Complaint
(24 October 1923 – 20 December 1997 / Ilford, Essex)

Adam's Complaint

Poem By Denise Levertov

Some people,
no matter what you give them,
still want the moon.

The bread,
the salt,
white meat and dark,
still hungry.

The marriage bed
and the cradle,
still empty arms.

You give them land,
their own earth under their feet,
still they take to the roads

And water: dig them the deepest well,
still it’s not deep enough
to drink the moon from.

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Comments (1)

Like Tennyson's Ulysses it throws down a challenge, but this time with wry skepticism of the urge for more, for the moon, for the roads. Adam's Complaint is located in primal imagery. Our hunger is recognized as inexplicable, our longings as ungrateful and impossible. But recognized, nonetheless, like the moon in the bottom of the well.


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