Denise Levertov

The Avowal

As swimmers dare
to lie face to the sky
and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air
and air sustains them,
so would I learn to attain
free fall, and float
into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace,
knowing no effort earns
that all-surrounding grace.

~ Denise Levertov from The Avowal

How could we tire of hope?

We have only begun
to imagine the fullness of life.
How could we tire of hope?
So much is in the bud.

~ from CANDLES IN BABYLON by Denise Levertov

The face of this singing nun would forever be unknown to us

They sang a capella: one voice began to mount like a skylark and detach itself from the rest, from those mingled voices which together sounded well, but from whose conjunction with this single one soared in an intensity of beauty — a voice so clear and just, yet vibrant with such warm sweetness, I have remembered it always. The fact that this great, this glorious and rare voice was singing behind bars, that the face and identity of this singing nun would forever be unknown to us, shadowed the music. Mainly, we were awed to think this treasure was so hidden.

~from TESSERAE by Denise Levertov

God is absorbed in work

God is absorbed in work, and hears
the spacious hum of bees, not the din,
and hears far-off
our screams. Perhaps
God listens for prayers in that wild solitude.
And hurries on with weaving:
till it's done, the garment woven,
our voices, clear under the familiar
blocked-out clamor of the task,
can't stop their
terrible beseeching. God
imagines it sifting through, at last, to music
in the astounded quietness, the loom idle,
the weaver at rest.

~ "The Task" by Denise Levertov

Practicing the Presence of God

Everything faded -- beside
The light which bathed and warmed, the Presence
Your being had opened to. Where it shone,
Their life was, and abundantly; it touched
Your dullest task and the tasks were easy.
Joyful, absorbed,
You "'practiced the presence of God" as a Musician
Practices hour after hour his art:
"A stone before the carver,"
You "entered into yourself."

~ Denise Levertov on Brother Lawrence's conversion
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