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Philip Levine - Waking In March

Last night, again, I dreamed 
my children were back at home, 
small boys huddled in their separate beds, 
and I went from one to the other 
listening to their breathing -- regular, 
almost soundless -- until a white light 
hardened against the bedroom wall, 
the light of Los Angeles burning south 
of here, going at last as we 
knew it would. I didn't waken. 
Instead the four of us went out 
into the front yard and the false dawn 
that rose over the Tehachipis and stood 
in our bare feet on the wet lawn 
as the world shook like a burning house. 
Each human voice reached us 
without sound, a warm breath on the cheek, 
a dry kiss. 
                  Why am I so quiet? 
This is the end of the world, I am dreaming 
the end of the world, and I go from bed 
to bed bowing to the small damp heads 
of my sons in a bedroom that turns 
slowly from darkness to fire. Everyone 
else is gone, their last words 
reach us in the language of light. 
The great eucalyptus trees along the road 
swim in the new wind pouring 
like water over the mountains. Each day 
this is what we waken to, a water 
like wind bearing the voices of the world, 
the generations of the unborn chanting 
in the language of fire. This will be 
tomorrow. Why am I so quiet?

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Waking In March - Comments and Information

Poet: Philip Levine
Poem: Waking In March
Volume: A Walk with Tom Jefferson
Year: Published/Written in 1988
Poem of the Day: Mar 12 2005
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