I read this poem in a collection and now I can't find it. It starts with the poet talking about how they were approached by someone who had loved one of their poems. But the reader could not remember the name of the poem.

This delighted the poet because, not only had the poem moved the reader, but someday they would rediscover it and be moved all over again as if they were reading it for the first time.

Does anybody know the name of this poem, and the name of the poet?

(P.S. Yes, I am aware of the irony here)

  • It's hard to Google for this one, because search terms like "poet reader forgotten name" just yield websites for identifying poems! +1 for meta :-D
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 20:56
  • It makes me think of Nicanor Parra's anti-poetry, but it's been a while, so, just a guess.
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 21:29

1 Answer 1


I actually found it myself. I remembered the collection I had read it in and searched through it. It is The Secret by Denise Levertov.

Two girls discover
the secret of life
in a sudden line of

I who don’t know the
secret wrote
the line. They
told me

(through a third person)
they had found it
but not what it was
not even

what line it was. No doubt
by now, more than a week
later, they have forgotten
the secret,

the line, the name of
the poem. I love them
for finding what
I can’t find,

and for loving me
for the line I wrote,
and for forgetting it
so that

a thousand times, till death
finds them, they may
discover it again, in other

in other
happenings. And for
wanting to know it,

assuming there is
such a secret, yes,
for that
most of all.

I realise now that I had the description a little bit wrong. That's the trouble with memory I suppose.


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