The Common Good
July-August 1999

Last Visit

by Murray Bodo | July-August 1999

---in memory of Denise Levertov, 1923-1997

Like your poems

the high front yard

faces a lake’s inlet.

Purple, pink, orange and yellow

day lilies

punctuate steep

steps to your front door

where lamb’s ear,

allium, ivy and clematis

cover the earth

beneath fig and pear.

Cloistered with fuschia,

fern, spirea and impatiens,

you scan the flowers

talk of saint Romero,

how he died preaching

grammar of justice,

syntax of mutual aid.

At table we share

livetta bread, peaches, cherries and

a view of clouds

you say is

Mt. Rainier

real as the line we had to


at Nevada’s nuclear site

to restructure

the sentence our lives are making.

Now I see your obituary,

your death

covered with words

I wish were

your new poem,

another glimpse of

the unseen:

an energy field

more intense than war.

MURRAY BODO is a Franciscan friar, author, and writer in residence at Thomas More College in Cincinnati, Ohio. Phrases in italics are from Denise Levertov’s poem "Making Peace." The online version does not represent the poet's original layout.

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