Showing 1 - 2 of 2 annotations associated with Levertov, Denise
- Coulehan, Jack
Levertov structures this poem in many ways like a Biblical psalm: repetition, irregular rhythms, direct address. The poem is also reminiscent of a Catholic litany in which saints are invoked in repetitive phrases. It moves forward by piling particularity upon particularity. The movement of the first part of the poem corresponds to the process of aging, preparing to die, letting go of the world, a natural flow or rhythm. However, this natural process is aborted: "She did not die."
The second part of the poem invokes the unnatural state in which she "lies half-speechless, incontinent, / aching in body, wandering in mind . . ." and describes the tubes and sores. "She is not whole." While the psalmist praises "O Lord of mysteries" for the beauty of sudden death, she cries "how baffling, how clueless / is laggard death . . . ." Death "that steals / insignificant patches of flesh" is a mystery.
- Aull, Felice
Summary:Grief is addressed as a dog who makes the transition from homelessness to acceptance as an integral part of the household. Told in the first person, the poem expresses the narrator's recognition that grief should not be slighted from "the back door," but must be trusted, "coax[ed] . . . into the house," and fully integrated with the self "before winter comes."