This wild night, gathering the washing as if it were flowers animal vines twisting over the line and
slapping my face lightly, soundless merriment
in the gesticulations of shirtsleeves,
I recall out of my joy a night of misery

walking in the dark and the wind over broken earth,
halfmade foundations and unfinished drainage trenches and the spaced-out circles of glaring light marking streets that were to be walking with you but so far from you,

and now alone in October’s first decision towards winter, so close to you– my arms full of playful rebellious linen, a freighter going down-river two blocks away, outward bound, the green wolf-eyes of the Harborside Terminal glittering on the Jersey shore,
and a train somewhere under ground bringing you towards me to our new living-place from which we can see a river and its traffic (the Hudson and the hidden river, who can say which it is we see, we see something of both. Or who can say the crippled broom-vendor yesterday, who passed
just as we needed a new broom, was not one of the Hidden Ones?)
Crates of fruit are unloading
across the street on the cobbles,
and a brazier flaring
to warm the men and burn trash. He wished us
luck when we bought the broom. But not luck
brought us here. By design

clean air and cold wind polish
the river lights, by design
we are to live now in a new place.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Denise Levertov's poem From the Roof

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