The Secret


Gay Head Lighthouse, Martha’s Vineyard

A poem by Denise Levertov whom I had the privilege to study with in college. It came like a reply to my last blog post. (and were the two girls in that class at Vassar?)

The Secret
Two girls discover
the secret of life
in a sudden line of
I who don’t know the
secret wrote
the line. They
told me
(through a third person)
they had found it
but not what it was
not even
what line it was.  No doubt
by now, more than a week
later, they have forgotten
the secret,
the line, the name of
the poem.  I love them
for finding what
I can’t find,
and for loving me
for the line I wrote,
and for forgetting it
so that
a thousand times, till death
finds them, they may
discover it again, in other
in other
happenings.  And for
wanting to know it,
assuming there is
such a secret, yes,
for that
most of all.
~ Denise Levertov ~
(Selected Poems)

5 thoughts on “The Secret

  1. Magical. I have a friend Linda who lives in Poultney and we have been friends since high school, we graduated in 1968. Thanks for sharing Nancy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nancy,
    I’ve always liked this poem. I was just talking to a friend about how when you are a writer, musician, etc. once your work leaves you it becomes the property of or a part of the reader/ listener. In a sense it is no longer yours. The reader, etc. gets to assign the meaning to it. It lives independently of you.
    I’m eagerly awaiting your next book. I’m currently reading “The Familiars: A Novel” about the Pendle Hill Witch trials in England in 1621. It has me thinking about you and your research for your book.

    I do hope you’re still writing and researching.

    Thanks for the poem!

    Linda Piotrowski aka Ninnanh


    • Thanks so much, Linda, that is so true. I’ll have to read that book, too. I’ve just been reading a really fun and brilliant series by Phil Rickman, about a contemporary clergywoman in England who deals with ghosts of witch trials, magic, etc. from now and the 17th century. And thanks for the encouragement for my novel. I needed it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ll look for the Rickman books. I’m so fascinated by stories about witches be they fiction or non fiction. I’m happy to provide encouragement. Writing is a hard lonely job.


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