Denise Levertov



Intrusion

After I had cut off my hands
and grown new ones

something my former hands had longed for
came and asked to be rocked.

After my plucked out eyes
had withered, and new ones grown

something my former eyes had wept for
came asking to be pitied.


In Mind

There's in my mind a woman
of innocence, unadorned but

fair-featured and smelling of
apples or grass. She wears

a utopian smock or shift, her hair
is light brown and smooth, and she

is kind and very clean without
ostentation-

but she has
no imagination

And there's 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.


Hypocrite Women

Hypocrite women, how seldom we speak
of our own doubts, while dubiously
we mother man in his doubt!


And if at Mill Valley perched in the trees
the sweet rain drifting through western air
a white sweating bull of a poet told us


our cunts are uglyβ€”why didn't we
admit we have thought so too? (And
what shame? They are not for the eye!)


No, they are dark and wrinkled and hairy,
caves of the Moon ... And when a
dark humming fills us, a


coldness towards life,
we are too much women to
own to such unwomanliness.


Whorishly with the psychopomp
we play and pleadβ€”and say
nothing of this later. And our dreams,


with what frivolity we have pared them
like toenails, clipped them like ends of
split hair.