Phillis Levin

Unsolicited Survey Unsolicited Survey

Have you been there? If so, can you describe the shape of the shadows? When you entered, did anyone greet you? Did the moss hug your foot or a jay screech in your ear? Were you afraid you would not get back? Did they ring a bell? How many times, and what did it sound like? Did a horse bow its head by the side of a road? Did a single feather lie at the clearing? Did a green wave cascade into a grove? Did the flavor of light infect your sleep? Did a toad leap from the dust onto a twig? Did deer turn in terror as you passed? Did a doe lick your hand and find you wanting? Did you behold a flower that cannot fade? Was the sky so empty that you fell upward? Did the needles of a pine tickle your nose? Did you sniff the ghost of the cedars of Lebanon? Did you follow a petal blown to the edge of the sea? Did you wake with a sheet twisted around your throat? Did you call out? Did you kneel at a blade of grass or at the mound of an anthill? Did you ask for a way in or a way out? Did a bough sway imperceptibly? Did you rest your hand on the shoulder of a god? Did you open a piece of fruit and offer a portion of it to the sun? How long did it take to finish, and were you satisfied? Did a fly sip some water from a stone? Did you touch the haze on a plum, its blue cloud? Did you rub its skin until it lost its bloom? Did the day burn in a crow's eye? Were the stars so clear another heaven appeared behind them? Did you hear the wind consoling the leaves? Did you look inside the cap of a mushroom, and part the curtain of disbelief?

Dec 22, 2000 / Books & the Arts / Phillis Levin