Monday, January 5, 2009

Denise Levertov: Tenebrae

Heavy, heavy, heavy, hand and heart.
We are at war,
bitterly, bitterly at war.
And the buying and selling
buzzes at our heads, a swarm
of busy flies, a kind of innocence.
Gowns of gold sequins are fitted,
sharp-glinting. What harsh rustlings
of silver moire there are,
to remind me of the shrapnel splinters.
And weddings are held in full solemnity
not of desire but of etiquette,
the nuptial pomp of starched lace;
a grim innocence.
And picnic parties return from the beaches
burning with stored sun in the dusk;
children promised a TV show when they get home
fall asleep in the backs of a million station wagons,
sand in their hair, the sound of waves
quietly persistent at their ears.
They are not listening.
Their parents at night
dream and forget their dreams.
They wake in the dark
and make plans. Their sequin plans
glitter into tomorrow,
They buy, they sell.
They fill freezers with food.
Neon signs flash their intensions
into the years ahead.
And at their ears the sound
of the war. They are
not listening, not listening.
Denise Levertov composed this poem in the fall of 1967 during the Vietnam war. The image is 'War' by Constantino Brumidi.


Anadæ Quenyan Effro said...

Synchro-mystic mojo, Devin! The music from Italian horror meister, Dario Argento's "Tenebrae", starring tv's "The Name of the Game" star, Anthony Franciosa, as a novelist with a dread secret, was wafting through my memory cells only yesterday! Whoa! And please watch that oxy script, if you haven't seen this elfin sage's concernéd advice to you on a certain other blogger's site on the matter.

Nonetheless, great work here, Devin, as usual. You never fail to make the grade. Best wishes in aught nine & well into the future, son. You're one of MY favorite monsters ( :-)}

Devin said...

Anadae-you always have the most interesting take on things and such an incredibly deep knowledge of such a variety of subjects-so great to see you here! thanks for the compliment also-before I had tried to link MFM to your site-if I have time tonight i will try again and see if it lets me-I am very interested with the info you have there! I just caught your comment as i was going to put the computer on standby to do research for a post i hope to have here this eve if it doesnt get too late-it may be a 2 parter anyway. Thanks again so much for stopping by and your thoughtful and intelligent comments-I hope you are having a fantastic aught 9 also:-)Best to you as always!

Devin said...

ps -just wanted to tell you I did see the 'elfin sages' advice on oxy script at other site:-) good advice-it is no wonder they call it oral heroin-i am slowly trying to cut back on these and use another non-addictive pain pill instead-it doesnt work as well but it is very much better than having withdrawal symptoms-thanks again for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

It is sad that even should be listen to "sounds of war" that for those caught up in it - they have no choice but to endure. Always a good reminder that for human kind - nothing is permanenet or guaranteed.

Devin said...

Aggie-so happy to see you here-I could not agree with your thoughts more. Whenever I get depressed and start thinking of all that is wrong with MY life-I try to envision the terrors and deprivations other people have had to endure. Many of these people-from the people who protected us from what could have been the Nazi conquest of much of the world, holocaust survivors, political prisoners and dissidents through the ages in all nations have endured things to try to make the world a better place in which to live-and their courage and humility astonishes me at times. Best to you and yours as always and heres hoping that 2009 will be a brighter year for every human being on the planet(except the ones who are causing so much of this pain in the first place)!