A Time Past
The old wooden steps to the front door
where I was sitting that fall morning
when you came downstairs, just awake,
and my joy at sight of you (emerging
into golden day—
the dew almost frost)
pulled me to my feet to tell you
how much I loved you:
those wooden steps
are gone now, decayed
replaced with granite,
hard, gray, and handsome.
The old steps live
only in me:
my feet and thighs
remember them, and my hands
still feel their splinters.
Everything else about and around that house
brings memories of others—of marriage,
of my son. And the steps do too: I recall
sitting there with my friend and her little son who died,
or was it the second one who lives and thrives?
And sitting there ‘in my life,’ often, alone or with my husband.
Yet that one instant,
your cheerful, unafraid, youthful, ‘I love you too,’
the quiet broken by no bird, no cricket, gold leaves
spinning in silence down without
any breeze to blow them,
is what twines itself
in my head and body across those slabs of wood
that were warm, ancient, and now
wait somewhere to be burnt.
Denise Levertov's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (A Time Past by Denise Levertov )
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
- 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- Daffodils, William Wordsworth
- Jiske Dhun Par Duniya Nache, Kumar Vishwas
- Invictus, William Ernest Henley
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- Tonight I can write the saddest lines, Pablo Neruda
Poem of the Day
- Ballade [The goat scratches so much it c.., François Villon
- Love Note 6, Michael P. McParland
- Sending Words about Overnight in Fishing.., Luo Zhihai
- Give me 'all of you', Juwon Daniel
- Leprosy eradication., Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
- Beyond The Dotted Lines, Asma Riaz Khan
- if I die young, Juwon Daniel
- Story of snow., Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
- She Wanted, Spiritwind Wood
- When love was born, Lehlohonolo Selai