Poets | Bookstore | Poem of the Day | Top 40 | Search | Comments | Privacy
April 19th, 2014 - we have 234 poets, 8,025 poems and 103,948 comments.
Denise Levertov - The Mutes

Those groans men use
passing a woman on the street
or on the steps of the subway

to tell her she is a female
and their flesh knows it,

are they a sort of tune,
an ugly enough song, sung
by a bird with a slit tongue

but meant for music?

Or are they the muffled roaring
of deafmutes trapped in a building that is
slowly filling with smoke?

Perhaps both.

Such men most often 
look as if groan were all they could do,
yet a woman, in spite of herself,

knows it's a tribute:
if she were lacking all grace
they'd pass her in silence:

so it's not only to say she's
a warm hole. It's a word

in grief-language, nothing to do with
primitive, not an ur-language;
language stricken, sickened, cast down

in decrepitude. She wants to
throw the tribute away, dis-
gusted, and can't,

it goes on buzzing in her ear,
it changes the pace of her walk,
the torn posters in echoing corridors

spell it out, it
quakes and gnashes as the train comes in.
Her pulse sullenly

had picked up speed,
but the cars slow down and
jar to a stop while her understanding

keeps on translating:
'Life after life after life goes by

without poetry,
without seemliness,
without love.' 

Share |

Added: Mar 17 2005 | Viewed: 4144 times | Comments and analysis of The Mutes by Denise Levertov Comments (2)

The Mutes - Comments and Information

Poet: Denise Levertov
Poem: The Mutes
Poem of the Day: Aug 17 2013

Comment 2 of 2, added on February 17th, 2011 at 5:56 AM.
mutes essay

i need the notes of mutes written by denise levertove

indumathi from India
Comment 1 of 2, added on October 24th, 2005 at 12:47 AM.

It appeared on line 23.



laoha

Are you looking for more information on this poem? Perhaps you are trying to analyze it? The poem, The Mutes, has received 2 comments. Click here to read them, and perhaps post a comment of your own.

Poem Info

Levertov Info
Copyright © 2000-2012 Gunnar Bengtsson. All Rights Reserved. Links | Bookstore