Denise Levertov
Wedding-Ring (1978)

1

My wedding-ring lies in a basket

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as if at the bottom of a well.

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Nothing will come to fish it back up

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and onto my finger again.

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It lies

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among keys to abandoned houses,

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nails waiting to be needed and hammered

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into some wall,

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telephone numbers with no names attached,

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idle paperclips.

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It can't be given away

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for fear of bringing ill-luck.

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It can't be sold

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for the marriage was good in its own

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time, though that time is gone.

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Could some artificer

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beat into it bright stones, transform it

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into a dazzling circlet no one could take

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for solemn betrothal or to make promises

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living will not let them keep? Change it

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into a simple gift I could give in friendship?