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Embrasure by Denise Levertov

May 31, 1987

The wind behind the window moves the leaves.

James with his cockleshell or Genevieve

a fraction westward move each day

in ruby beads,

a rosary let fall (with lilly, germander, and sops-in-wine)

decade by decade through the year

across the wall, along the floor.

The figures ripple and the colors quicken.

In cloud or dark invisible

yet moving always, and in light

turning--the circle

east by west or west by east

day after day

constant in pilgrimage. The wind

behind the windows moves

the leaves, the bare

branches stir or hold

their breath, their buds,

up to remotest stars.

And dustmote congregations file

endlessly through the slanted amethyst.

From "Breathing the Water" by Denise Levertov (New Directions: $16.95, hardcover; $6.95, paperback; 96 pp.). Levertov, 64, who was born in England of Welsh and Russian ancestry, has published more than 18 volumes of poetry. She has lived in the United States since 1948 and is currently teaching at Stanford University. Her work appears frequently in literary magazines, including North American Review, Sequoia, Southern Humanities Review and Poetry East. Her third book of prose will be published by New Directions in the spring of 1988. 1987 Denise Levertov, by permission.

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