She in whose lip service
I passed my time,
whose name I knew, but not her face
came upon me where I lay in Lie Castle1!

Flung me across the room, and
room after room (hitting the wall, re-
bounding--to the last
sticky wall--wrenching away from it
pulled hair out!)
till I lay outside the other walls!

There in cold air
lying still where her hand had thrown me,
I tasted the mud that splattered my lips:
the seeds of a forest were in it,
asleep and growing! I tasted
her power!

The silence was answering my silence,
a forest was pushing itself
out of sleep between my submerged fingers.
I bit on a seed and it spoke on my tongue
of day that shone already among stars
in the water-mirror of low ground,

and a wind rising ruffled the lights:
she passed near me returning from the encounter,
she who plucked me from the close rooms,

without whom nothing
flowers, fruits, sleeps in season,
without whom nothing
speaks in its own tongue, but returns
lie for lie!

-Denise Levertov

Denise Levertov has written that this poem "recalls one of those confrontations with Truth that every person, every soul, must sometimes experience if he or she is to live, to grow; and especially one who is a poet- for poets have a genius for lying and an adoration for the truth, and it may be that the driving impulse of every poet is to maintain the dynamic interplay of this these two passions."2

1Lie Castle refers to that in The Pilgrim's Progress.
2from With Eyes at the Back of Our Heads by Denise Levertov New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1959.

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