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Denise Levertov

In her long literary career Levertov wrote many dream-based poems. No surprise. She read Jung and underwent Jungian analysis, and her dreams show it: serious, archetypal, sometimes even oracular as in "Flight".

The list here is just a sampling. For more dream-poems, try "Girlhood of Jane Harrison", "The Dog of Art", "Relative Figures Reappear", "The Park", and "The Dragonfly Mother", plus the short story titled "A Dream" but generally referred to, even by Levertov herself, by its two main characters: "Antonio and Sabrinus". Also, "In Memory of Boris Pasternak", "A Ring of Changes", and "A Sequence" incorporate shorter dreams. Over half these can be found in her Collected Earlier Poems, 1940-1960 (New York, New Directions, 1979).

RELATED TOPICS: dream poems - Yeats - Emily Dickinson - Jungian dreams - an essay on visionary poet Robinson Jeffers - See also the full INDEX OF SUBJECTS.

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BARN BURNING: by Denise Levertov; 1929?; a childhood nightmare
I'm in a barn full of peaceful animals lit by a golden glow. And then they all blacken, crinkle, and corrugate like burnt paper...
DON'T YOU HEAR THAT WHISTLE BLOWIN...: by Denise Levertov; 1974/9/6; a dream poem
4 AM. A train wakes us all. We watch it pass, thinking of lost friends. And then I wake again to find...
FLIGHT: by Denise Levertov; 1945; a dream poem
I meet William Blake! He says "The will is given us that we
may know the delights of surrender." While in my bedroom...
A PILGRIM DREAMING: by Denise Levertov; 1977? a dream poem
A man I loved goes into the Jungian depths, but when his anima appears in the mirror-pool, his nerve fails...
THE RUNES: by Denise Levertov; c.1963, an identity-bent oracular dream
I'm a small child in Finland writing out the meaning of three ancient runes
about trees, ships and elbow room. They seem to hold serious advice...
TO THE SNAKE: by Denise Levertov; 1959?; a short dream-poem
I loved the feel of the green snake, and reassured my friends it wasn't poisonous, but really...
UNCERTAIN ONEIROMANCY: by Denise Levertov; 1993? a dream poem
I led a blind man through a vast art museum underground. But guiding him, I too was blind to the beauty...
THE WELL: by Denise Levertov; 1960?; a dream-poem
I meet my own muse--the muse of all of us, perhaps--scooping water from a sacred well...
THE WRECK: by Denise Levertov; before 1980, a surreal dream-dilemma
We go swimming in a sea full of wrecked tankers. We explore one derelict, but ebb tide pries it off the bank,
out to sea. Do we swim for shore, or wait, hoping high tide will wash it in again? Guess wrong and we die...

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