From The Roof

This wild night, gathering the washing as if it were flowers
          animal vines twisting over the line and
          slapping my face lightly, soundless merriment
          in the gesticulations of shirtsleeves,
I recall out of my joy a night of misery

walking in the dark and the wind over broken earth,
          halfmade foundations and unfinished
          drainage trenches and the spaced-out
                    circles of glaring light
          marking streets that were to be
walking with you but so far from you,

and now alone in October's
first decision towards winter, so close to you--
          my arms full of playful rebellious linen, a freighter
          going down-river two blocks away, outward bound,
          the green wolf-eyes of the Harborside Terminal
                    glittering on the Jersey shore,
and a train somewhere under ground bringing you towards me
to our new living-place from which we can see

a river and its traffic (the Hudson and the
hidden river, who can say which it is we see, we see
something of both. Or who can say
the crippled broom-vendor yesterday, who passed
just as we needed a new broom, was not
one of the Hidden Ones?)
          Crates of fruit are unloading
          across the street on the cobbles,
          and a brazier flaring
          to warm the men and burn trash. He wished us
luck when we bought the broom. But not luck
brought us here. By design

clean air and cold wind polish
the river lights, by design
we are to live now in a new place.

by Denise Levertov

Comments (5)

From the Roof by Denise Levertov This wild night, gathering the washing as if it were flowers animal vines twisting over the line and slapping my face lightly, soundless merriment in the gesticulations of shirtsleeves, I recall out of my joy a night of misery
The river lights life with clean air and shining effect. An interesting poem is very beautifully penned. This is very thoughtful...10
I think the special charm of the poem lies in the smoothness of transition and pause in the lines. It really controls the flow of English!
The narrative captures the feel and sentiments attached with a lovely new place of living. It may take some time before one gets used to it. Till then it would be 'walking with you but so far from you'. Thanks.
Such an interesting poem by Denise Levertov👍👍👍