Sojourns in the Parallel World
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.
By Denise Levertov, from Sands of the Well. Copyright © 1996 by Denise Levertov. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp. All rights reserved.
Though Denise Levertov was born in England, she became known as one of the great American poets and became an important voice in the American avant-garde.
Date Published: 1996-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/sojourns-parallel-world