it throbs in the teeth


I hesitate to cite Levertov any longer, as her work seems to punctuate (oddly) so many things in life that have gone awry or simply that evoke feelings, some very old and some very fresh, that I don’t need to give rise to. I wonder why it’s Levertov’s work that defines so many moments. She was never a favorite, never particularly important in my poetry discoveries. And I don’t even find her works necessarily the most powerful. But they take a bite in those precise moments, much as certain songs form the soundtrack of pivotal life moments – whether or not we like those songs. It cannot be helped.

The Ache of Marriage
Denise Levertov
The ache of marriage:

thigh and tongue, beloved,
are heavy with it,
it throbs in the teeth

We look for communion
and are turned away, beloved,
each and each

It is leviathan and we
in its belly
looking for joy, some joy
not to be known outside it

two by two in the ark of
the ache of it.

Photo by Jason Wong on Unsplash