Poetry, Reflectionary

O Taste and See

Yesterday I was leaving the hospital after a visit and walking to my
car on City By the Sea’s Western Promenade. It was a gorgeous autumn
afternoon, the air brisk and breezy, the sky an incredible contrast
between nearby low clouds and a faraway clear view of the snow on Mount
Washington. It’s one of those places in my life I can take for granted far too easily. When my bad ear aches with the sharpness of the wind, I may rush to the car without really seeing and smelling the crisp taste of the day.

I was looking for the words of the Vaughn Williams motet on Psalm
34, "O Taste and See," when I found this poem. I
wanted to share it with you.

O Taste and See

The world is
not with us enough
O taste and see

the subway Bible poster said,
meaning The Lord, meaning
if anything all that lives
to the imagination’s tongue,

grief, mercy, language,
tangerine, weather, to
breathe them, bite,
savor, chew, swallow, transform

into our flesh our
deaths, crossing the street, plum, quince,
living in the orchard and being

hungry, and plucking
the fruit.

~Denise Levertov

What would you taste if you had the chance?

5 thoughts on “O Taste and See”

  1. I love this poem and Denise Levertov is one of my favorite poets along with Mary Oliver. Right in this moment I want to taste long stretches of silence (too much work after my lovely retreat! and I am procrastinating this very moment). Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. “O taste and see how gracious the Lord is; Blest is the man that trusteth in him.”
    Such a gorgeous motet. I’ve had the opportunity to sing it on two occasions, and hope to sing it again. Did you know it was written for the coronation of Elizabeth II?
    We are having a perfect autumn afternoon, something quite rare here, and I am thankful to taste the sweetness in the cool breeze, the sound it makes in the pecan tree, and the sound and sight of the fat pecans hitting the ground all around me!

  3. Lovely poem. How beautiful you have Mt. Washington to look at.
    I think if I need to taste and see it would be how bright the colors were of the leaves with the rain recently. Or miss my kids voices.

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