Bitterness Poem by Philip Levine


Rating: 2.6

Here in February, the fine
dark branches of the almond
begin to sprout tiny clusters
of leaves, sticky to the touch.
Not far off, about the length
of my morning shadow, the grass
is littered with the petals
of the plum that less than
a week ago blazed, a living
candle in the hand of earth.
I was living far off two years
ago, fifteen floors above
119th Street when I heard
a love of my young manhood
had died mysteriously in
a public ward. I did not
go out into the streets to
walk among the cold, sullen
poor of Harlem, I did not
turn toward the filthy window
to question a distant pale sky.
I did not do anything.
The grass is coming back, some
patches already bright, though
at this hour still silvered
with dew. By noon I can stand
sweating in the free air, spading
the difficult clay for the bare
roots of a pear or apple that
will give flower and fruit longer
than I care to think about.

Edward Kofi Louis 13 April 2016

For the bare roots! And to take care of nature. Nice work.

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Glen Kappy 14 December 2016

dang! what restraint! what sticking to the facts! and what pictures to make me know the feeling he evokes. -glen kappy

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Ratnakar Mandlik 13 April 2016

Enormity and depth of grief expressed is simply touching. Thanks for sharing.

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Savita Tyagi 13 April 2016

Expression of grief has many ways. Struggling with that grief has many ways too. This poem expresses it in such an effective way. It's like harsh afternoon meeting timid dusk.

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John Richter 13 April 2016

It's a slow process.... Perfectly depicted here...

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Barry Middleton 13 April 2016

Plant a tree and name it after a deceased friend. Grief!

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Philip Levine

Philip Levine

Detroit, Michigan
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