‘Ce bruit de la mer . . .’ (Denise Levertov)

September 29, 2008

(after Jules Supervielle)
 
That sound, everywhere about us, of the sea–
the tree among its tresses has always heard it,
and the horse dips his black body in the sound
stretching his neck as if towards drinking water,
as if he were longing to leave the dunes and become
a mythic horse in the remotest distance,
joining the flock of foam-sheep–
fleeces made for vision alone–
to be indeed the son of these salt waters
and browse on algae in the deep fields.
But he must learn to wait, wait on the shore,
promising himself someday to the waves of the open sea,
putting his hope in certain death, lowering
his head again to the grass.
 
 
*
 
I thought this fitting after last week’s Supervielle poem. I have long appreciated animism in its various literary forms, and here especially. The horse much as anyone or anything hears “this noise of the sea” but remains, like us, locked in a limited and limiting world. He must lower his head again to the grass.

 

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