Monday, April 19, 2010

Tuesday's Poem: Candlewood


We go into the dark and the dark opens.
Boats tipped with light and the moon on the water.
There is no difference between the tree and the shadow of the tree.
There is no space between light and the wave coming shoreward.
No break between the voice and the word.
There is no difference between your breath and your dear life.
There is no end of you.
--Miriam Levine

"Candlewood" is the first poem of my collection, The Dark Opens, which received the Autumn House Poetry Prize.

The Tuesday Poem is "inclusive not exclusive" and is "designed to encourage poets to write poems and people to read poems."


  1. I've been trying to write the occasional poem lately, Mim, with little success, but I'm grateful for your encouragement and to read your beautiful example of poetry that works.

  2. This is lovely - I keep re-reading it

  3. There is no difference between your breath and your dear life.
    lovely, dear Mim

  4. A poem that lulls, reassures. Lovely.

  5. perfect for this tuesday. soft sunlight, warm breeze, the right words in the right order.
    thank you!

  6. Hi Miriam,

    I love how your poem makes and collapses spaces, abstracts and then closes difference into identity, marries the Kantian nouemena and phenomena, takes concrete things, 'boats', 'tree', 'wave', 'voice' and 'life' and affirms their continuity and sameness with 'light', 'shadow', 'space', 'word' and 'breath', and you do all this with the casual ease of true sophistication.

    Your poem keeps inviting the reader back, because 'there is no end' of its resonances.


  7. I haven't been able to read a poem for days until now. It's perfect for today. thank you.

  8. Miriam, I couldn't have said it as well as John has, but there is something so mortal in that moment, even though there are no end of resonances. It is that loving rocking that we might do to soothe ourselves when the thing and the shadow of the thing have always existed--our bodies are mortal, some part of us is light forever?--and the mind cannot see both at once, but flickers back between the light and the dark, the wave and the shadow of it. And the tone quiet as a woodland, something organic, nothing artificial or superficial--it's deeply true

  9. Thank you, all. There's poetry in your comments!

  10. To be read in a refreshing breath of hope
    Making one albe to cope
    While life being steep
    Reaching into the innerst within deep.

    Will check the site, right after wishing you a wonderful Wednesday.

  11. thank you for you to make me learn more,thank you∩0∩ ........................................

  12. I come late to this - but no less appreciative. It is a fine poem - delicate and powerful.

  13. Mim-

    Your poem slides in to the wings of the stage in my soul.

    When the curtains rise, it takes its place.

    And a world is unfurled in it's dark glory.



  14. Thank you, Signs. I just read your tender letter to your sister.

    Tearful, dear: You know the light and the dark.