Poem by Denise Levertov Essay Example

  • Category: Literature, Poem,
  • Words: 328 Pages: 2
  • Published: 03 September 2020
  • Copied: 108


Eye Mask

In this dark I rest,

unready for the light which dawns

day after day,

eager to be shared.

Black silk, shelter me.

I need

more of the night before I open

eyes and heart

to illumination. I must still

grow in the dark like a root

not ready, not ready at all. 

-Denise Levertov

In life, we experience many things that scare us, but the scariest is love. Love, as some would say, makes us vulnerable. As humans, vulnerability causes us to feel unsafe and uncertain. This uncertainty can cloud one’s judgment or can provide us with insights to help cope and overcome adversity. In Denise Levertov’s poem “Eye Mask”, we can grasp that she’s not talking about sleeping, but rather love, not being ready for love and self-growth.  

In the first sentence, Levertov conveys that she feels safe being alone and wants something more but isn’t ready. “In this dark I rest, unready for the light which dawns” (1-2), the dark is Levertov in a sense, and a place she retreats and feels comfortable being in. The light symbolizes love. 

In addition to Levertov wanting love but being unready, the second and third sentences delve more into how she isn’t ready for love. Firstly, she demands “Black silk, shelter me.” (5) This not only provides great imagery but a sense of wanting to be protected. Since she used a color like black, which can symbolize fear and a luxurious material such as silk, we can start to understand that she is comfortable being protected by her own fears. In line 6, I find it to be the most powerful line in the whole poem. “I need” implies something stronger than any want or desire. The importance of her needing this darkness triumphs over any “illumination” (9) or love. 

Though much of the poem discusses not being ready for love, the last sentence shows us a new perspective, self-growth. To use such a metaphor as “I must still grow in the dark like a root” (9-10) demonstrates that she is open to love but feels as though she needs to grow and work on herself before she begins to love.



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