“The Goddess“ by Denise Levertov


Paul Gauguin, “The Seed of the Areoi”


THE GODDESS, by Denise Levertov

“She in whose lip service
I passed my time,
whose name I knew, but not her face,
came upon me where I lay in Lie Castle!

Flung me across the room, and
room after room (hitting the wall, re-
bounding—to the last
sticky wall—wrenching away from it
pulled hair out!)
till I lay
outside the outer walls!

There in cold air
lying still where her hand had thrown me,
I tasted the mud that splattered my lips:
the seeds of a forest were in it,
asleep and growing! I tasted
her power!

The silence was answering my silence,
a forest was pushing itself
out of sleep between my submerged fingers.
I bit on a seed and it spoke on my tongue
of day that shone already among the stars
in the water-mirror of low ground,

and a wind rising ruffled the lights:
she passed near me in returning from the encounter,
she who plucked me from the close rooms,

without whom nothing
flowers, fruits, sleeps in season,
without whom nothing
speaks in its own tongue, but returns
lie for lie!”

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12 Responses to “The Goddess“ by Denise Levertov

  1. Nice poem, Monika. Thanks for sharing it.


  2. Pingback: “The Goddess“ by Denise Levertov | lampmagician

  3. Marie Taylor says:

    Levertov is one of my favorites.


  4. It’s been interesting to read readers’ interpretation of this poem. We all read from our own lives, our own experiences. So here’s mine. What I read is that truth is not found in the house of lies, and if we seek truth, that power, we are thrown out of that house, that sense of consciousness, and it can feel violent and cruel, and when we find ourselves outside, lying in the mud so to speak, upon the ground of reality, we find the truth of things, how in mud, what we think of as lowly, grows forests, and in seeds a whole universe of potentiality, and there upon that fertile ground we see the Divine for the first time, she whom we sought, she who threw us out of the house of lies, without whom nothing is seen truly, without whom all is wrapped in lies.


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