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
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.