One by one the lights appear at sea, not stars drowning as they must, but small boats… — Philip Levine, from “One by One,” Poetry (August 1973)
Don’t scorn your life just because it’s not dramatic, or it’s impoverished, or it looks dull, or it’s workaday. Don’t scorn it. It is where poetry is taking place if you’ve got the sensitivity to see it, if your eyes are open. — Philip Levine
Wherever you are now there is earth somewhere beneath you waiting to take the little you leave. This morning I rose before dawn, dressed in the cold, washed my face, ran a comb through my hair and felt my skull underneath, unrelenting, soon the home of nothing. The wind that swirled the sand that day… Continue reading Philip Levine
Don’t ask me why I came down to the water’s edge— hell, I was young, and I thought I knew life, I thought I could hold the darkness the way a man holds a cup of coffee before he wakens — Philip Levine, from “Here and Now,” Poetry (September 1977)
I am the soul stretching into the furthest reaches of my fingers and beyond — Philip Levine, from “Last Words,” The New Yorker, Poems: December 13, 1982 Issue .
Who will take my hand and lead me to you? Who will take my hand that is on fire, that smells of earth, that is burning now to an autumnal rust? Who will lead me to the ceremonies of sorrow? — Philip Levine, from “Burned,” What Work Is (Knopf; Reprint edition August 31, 2011)
Let me begin again as a speck of dust caught in the night winds sweeping out to sea. Let me begin this time knowing the world is salt water and dark clouds, the world is grinding and sighing all night, and dawn comes slowly, and changes nothing. — Philip Levine, from “Let Me Begin Again,”… Continue reading Philip Levine