Denise Levertov’s “Pleasures” has been one of my favorite poems forever. Maybe it’s because Levertov gets at what draws me to poetry, science, and meditation, that: “I like to find/what’s not found/at once/but lies/ within something of another nature/in repose/ distinct.” The systematic examination, the dissection; turning the insides out. What is the world made of? And I remember this poem too, because it made me wonder about squid bones. Squids don’t have bones, but an inner shell. Somehow in this poem, squid bones are both true and not true. True in that the falseness make the reader look, examine with her, think again. Do squid have bones? Why not? What is a bone if not an internal shell? Here, words do the dissection, and we are reminded that there is both danger and deceptive fragility in exploring the inner life.
I like to findwhat’s not foundat once, but lieswithin something of another nature,in repose, distinct.Gull feathers of glass, hiddenin white pulp: the bones of squidwhich I pull out and layblade by blade on the draining board—tapered as if for swiftness, to piercethe heart, but fragile, substancebelying design.