Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Secret

The Secret
by Denise Levertov

Two girls discover
the secret of life
in a sudden line of

I who don't know the
secret wrote
the line. They
told me

(through a third person)
they had found it
but not what it was
not even

what line it was. No doubt
by now, more than a week
later, they have forgotten
the secret,

the line, the name of
the poem. I love them
for finding what
I can't find,

and for loving me
for the line I wrote
and for forgetting it
so that

a thousand times, till death
finds them, they may
discover it again, in other

In other
happenings. And for
wanting to know it,

assuming there is
such a secret, yes,
for that
most of all.

Levertov published The Secret in 1964. In it, she has neatly captured both a primary reason for writing poetry and a primary reason for reading poems. She has mystery, hope, loss all wrapped in a simple free verse, both readily understandable and endlessly debatable. The reader is left to read into it a whole lot or nothing, taking the words at face value. The poem can become what the reader wants, a true tribute to the poet.

Do you agree?

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