Prisoners

Denise Levertov

Denise Levertov

Born on October 24, 1923, in Ilford, England, Levertov grew up being home schooled by her parents. She showed interest in becoming a writer at the age of five. During World War II, she worked as a nurse, but she didn't stop writing. In 1940 she published her first work, Poetry Quarterly, and six years later she posted a collection of poems called The Double Image, which got her a lot of good attention. Denise Levertov published many works in her time on Earth, and is most commonly known as a skilled poet and an anti-war activist. (Information paraphrased from http://www.biography.com/people/denise-levertov-9380452)
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Prisoners

This poem isn't one of Levertov's most well known pieces, but it really struck home with me. I interpret it as a poem about how in life, people are told that they need to have what's in style, they need to do what everyone else does, they need to be like everyone else, etc. Society tells us that we have to do these things in order to succeed, and force feeds us. Most people comply to this, and do not live their lives to the fullest. They live all the way until death, which is when they realize how none of that really matters. I feel like this poem is a challenge to everyone alive, saying that before you reach death's doorstep, live your life. Don't let anyone change you or try to force things on you. Be your own person. This poem definitely has transcendental themes in it, and I believe they ring true today.

" yet

all the long journey

we shall have gone in chains,

fed on knowledge-apples

acrid and riddled with grubs."


This section of the poem goes along with when I said how people are force fed by society, those "knowledge-apples" are what's being fed to us, and the chains are what are binding us to the norms.

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