Christopher Sholes patented the typewriter in 1868, his invention relying on the understroke
mechanism that drove a bar up onto an inked ribbon when each key was pressed.
The poem concludes as the speaker returns to that "interface," asking: "Couldn't one learn to maintain / that exquisite balance more than a second?" Again the speaker offers two opposed views: of the "penciled understrokes
," on the one hand; and on the other, the feel of carpet or "cold fruit in a bowl," both evoked by an attentive "reading" of the painting.
Levertov loved to explore what she called the borderland of art, the interface between form and content, where we can see the brush-strokes or "penciled understrokes
," smell the turpentine, delight in the craft itself, at the same time discerning the large patterns, the fictive truths, the whole world of vision.