Denise Levertov

(24 October 1923 – 20 December 1997 / Ilford, Essex)

Making Peace - Poem by Denise Levertov

A voice from the dark called out,
"The poets must give us
imagination of peace, to oust the intense, familiar
imagination of disaster. Peace, not only
the absence of war."

But peace, like a poem,
is not there ahead of itself,
can't be imagined before it is made,
can't be known except
in the words of its making,
grammar of justice,
syntax of mutual aid.

A feeling towards it,
dimly sensing a rhythm, is all we have
until we begin to utter its metaphors,
learning them as we speak.

A line of peace might appear
if we restructured the sentence our lives are making,
revoked its reaffirmation of profit and power,
questioned our needs, allowed
long pauses. . . .

A cadence of peace might balance its weight
on that different fulcrum; peace, a presence,
an energy field more intense than war,
might pulse then,
stanza by stanza into the world,
each act of living
one of its words, each word
a vibration of light—facets
of the forming crystal.

Topic(s) of this poem: peace

Comments about Making Peace by Denise Levertov

  • Edward Kofi Louis (2/16/2018 2:57:00 PM)

    Like a poem! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report)Reply

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  • Susan Williams (2/16/2018 1:52:00 PM)

    Peace- -it is almost a foreign concept these days where there is war and rumors of war and heavy-fisted threats of war and no place to go where one can hear the sound of a small bird when all one hears is the thunder of bored dogs barking and snarling cars and music pounding past. So glad she wrote about peace to remind us there was a time... (Report)Reply

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  • Seamus O Brian (2/16/2018 11:21:00 AM)

    I love the concept that peace is more than the absence of strife or war. That it is something substantial on its own merit. Perhaps like poetry is more than the absence of silence. A compelling and timely meditation; a piercing clarion to restructure the sentences our lives are making. May our actions reflect our accord. (Report)Reply

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  • Henry Tong (2/16/2018 10:55:00 AM)

    One of the most known themes in poetry is war and peace. However, seldom did any poet or poetess make connection between poetry and peace. This is excellent! (Report)Reply

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  • Anil Kumar Panda (2/16/2018 8:35:00 AM)

    I nice poem. In these days of violence and bloodshed the poem urges one to live in peace. Thanks for sharing. (Report)Reply

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  • Glen Kappy (2/16/2018 7:34:00 AM)

    I find this poem not only a vigorous encouragement to live out peace but a description of how I write poetry. I start with the real, what I have experienced in some form, then may imagine with images remembered from the real. Levertov illustrates this well here using the language to describe poetry and applying it imaginatively to communicate her message. -GK (Report)Reply

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  • Ruta Mohapatra (2/16/2018 12:52:00 AM)

    A powerful, thought provoking poem! (Report)Reply

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, December 4, 2014

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