The Breath of God

sunset Alto

This poem by Denise Levertov speaks to me about the breath of God:


In Whom We Live and Move and Have Our Being

Birds afloat in air’s current,
sacred breath?  No, not breath of God,
it seems, but God
the air enveloping the whole
globe of being.
It’s we who breathe, in, out, in, in the sacred,
leaves astir, our wings
rising, ruffled — but only the saints
take flight.  We cower
in cliff-crevice or edge out gingerly
on branches close to the nest.  The wind
marks the passage of holy ones riding
that ocean of air.  Slowly their wake
reaches us, rocks us.
But storms or still,
numb or poised in attention,
we inhale, exhale, inhale,
encompassed, encompassed.


Here’s a poem from my book Life List :




Merlin on the wire on Bayshore Road


The memory moves faster than the pen.

The merlin lands minutely on the wire,

But flashes off in sunlight as I near.


Behind my eyes are attics full of rooms

whose only access lies in photographs.

The merlin lands minutely on the wire.


That window overlooking maple trees,

where winter sunsets blazed in molten red,

It flashes off in sunlight as I near.


The snowbird that I rescued Easter day

lay stunned but blinking, heating up my hand.

The memory moves faster than the pen.


The morning kitchen silence breaks and hums,

The rubythroat appears, and chirps, and drinks,

he flashes off in sunlight as I near.



The face of one long dead begins to form.

I see his thick brown hair wave in the wind,

He flashes off in sunlight as I near.


The breath of God upon my neck, so clear

and sudden once in one of those close rooms…

The memory moves faster than the pen.


I reach into the ocean’s briny mouth.

My hand emerges empty, wet with tears…

The memory moves faster than the pen.

Cape May beach nov 2014   from capemayblogger



<a href=””>Breath</a&gt;


Published by ahiggins2013

poet, birder, senior citizen, cancer survivor, Catholic sister. Eight books of poetry published: At the Year’s Elbow, Mellen Poetry Press 2000; Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky, Plain View Press 2007; chapbooks: Pick It Up and Read, Finishing Line Press 2008, How the Hand Behaves, Finishing Line Press 2009, Digging for God, Wipf and Stock 2010, Vexed Questions, Aldrich Press 2013, Reconnaissance, Texture Press 2014, and Life List, Finishing Line Press, 2015.

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