We live our lives of human passions, cruelties, dreams, concepts, crimes and the exercise of virtue in and beside a world devoid of our preoccupations, free from apprehension—though affected, certainly, by our actions. A world parallel to our own though overlapping. We call it "Nature"; only reluctantly admitting ourselves to be "Nature" too. Whenever we lose track of our own obsessions, our self-concerns, because we drift for a minute, an hour even, of pure (almost pure) response to that insouciant life: cloud, bird, fox, the flow of light, the dancing pilgrimage of water, vast stillness of spellbound ephemerae on a lit windowpane, animal voices, mineral hum, wind conversing with rain, ocean with rock, stuttering of fire to coal—then something tethered in us, hobbled like a donkey on its patch of gnawed grass and thistles, breaks free. No one discovers just where we've been, when we're caught up again into our own sphere (where we must return, indeed, to evolve our destinies) —but we have changed, a little.
Denise Levertov - 1923-1997
St. Peter and the Angel
Delivered out of raw continual pain, smell of darkness, groans of those others to whom he was chained— unchained, and led past the sleepers, door after door silently opening— out! And along a long street's majestic emptiness under the moon: one hand on the angel's shoulder, one feeling the air before him, eyes open but fixed . . . And not till he saw the angel had left him, alone and free to resume the ecstatic, dangerous, wearisome roads of what he had still to do, not till then did he recognize this was no dream. More frightening than arrest, than being chained to his warders: he could hear his own footsteps suddenly. Had the angel's feet made any sound? He could not recall. No one had missed him, no one was in pursuit. He himself must be the key, now, to the next door, the next terrors of freedom and joy.