Caedmon

1All others talked as if
2talk were a dance.
3Clodhopper I, with clumsy feet
4would break the gliding ring.
5Early I learned to
6hunch myself
7close by the door:
8then when the talk began
9I'd wipe my
10 mouth and wend
11unnoticed back to the barn
12to be with the warm beasts,
13dumb among body sounds
14of the simple ones.
15I'd see by a twist
16of lit rush the motes
17of gold moving
18from shadow to shadow
19slow in the wake
20of deep untroubled sighs.
21The cows
22munched or stirred or were still. I
23was at home and lonely,
24both in good measure. Until
25the sudden angel affrighted me---light effacing
26my feeble beam,
27a forest of torches, feathers of flame, sparks upflying:
28but the cows as before
29were calm, and nothing was burning,
30nothing but I, as that hand of fire
31touched my lips and scorched my tongue
32and pulled my voice
33into the ring of the dance.
Original Text: 
Levertov, Denise. The Stream and the Sapphire. New York, NY: New Directions, 1997: 41-42.
Publication Start Year: 
1987
Publication Notes: 
Breathing the Water.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire, assisted by Ana Berdinskikh
RPO Edition: 
2009
Rhyme: 
Form: 
Special Copyright: 

"Caedmon" © New Directions. From "The Stream and the Sapphire" (New York, N.Y.: New Directions, 1997) by permission of the publisher. Any other use, including reproduction for any purposes, educational or otherwise, will require explicit written permission from New Directions.