Talking to Grief

Levertov, Denise

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Aull, Felice
  • Date of entry: Mar-05-2002


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."


One can speculate about the meaning of "before winter comes." Perhaps winter represents death and the poet warns of the necessity to come to terms with grief before it is too late. Perhaps it symbolizes immutability and solidification, the freezing in time of unresolved grief.

Primary Source

Life in the Forest


New Directions

Place Published

New York