by A. E. Stallings
After the argument, all things were strange.
They stood divided by their eloquence
Which had surprised them after so much silence.
Now there were real things to rearrange.
Words betokened deeds, but they were both
Lightened briefly, and they were inclined
To be kind as sometime strangers can be kind.
It was as if, out of the undergrowth,
They stepped into a clearing and a sun,
Machetes still in hand. Something was done,
But how they did not fully realize.
Something was beginning. Something would stem
And branch from this one moment. Something made
Them both look up into each other’s eyes
Because they both were suddenly afraid
And there was no one now to comfort them.
Both Levertov and Stallings draw inspiration from their families, each with a personal voice and poetic vision, but in very different forms. Stallings has the ability to craft highly structured poems that read smoothly, the rhyme and structure doesn’t feel forced or artificial. This is extremely hard to do and I find the craft of Stallings work remarable. No less skilled though is Levertov’s ability to create emotion through simplicity. Levertov picks her words with care and places them with a deft touch. Each of these poems come at the reality of partnership/marriage that is at once both uncomfortable as it is beautiful. A reminder that love moves along all the spectrums of emotion and not just in one direction.
The Ache Of Marriage
by 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