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QUINTESSENCE

Before Dark

Flower box by river at dusk, Strasbourg, France

FLOWERS BEFORE DARK
Stillness of flowers. Colors
a slow intense fire, faces
cool to the touch, burning.
Massed flowers in dusk, crimson,
magenta, orange,
unflickering furnace, gaze
unswerving, innocent scarlet,
ardent white, afloat
on late light, serene passion
stiller than silence.

- Denise Levertov

Levertov's inexplicable phrase, "serene passion/ stiller than silence," holds my attention. What would that feel like, exactly? And how do we reach this point of perfect disequilibrium, tipped between motion and emotion, tranquility and fierceness?

I don't know. But I believe I've felt something that speaks of it. You may have too. A glancing tingling rooted awareness. That says This. Here now.

Invisible ribbons, slips of sensed awareness of The Real twist about us continuously. Stumbling upon a spectacular vista. Mist grazing skin on a lonely run. Wind across black rock. Dozing deep in the crook of an arm. Blinding splintered sunlight across snow. I admire Levertov's work for many reasons, but particularly for her balletic wordplay; these powerful verbal arabesques, both light and free, that pour through poems like "Flowers Before Dark." An exaltation of light. The unfettered sensuality of color. The exuberance of nature, unnamed.

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