Denise Levertov

Missing Beatrice

(For B.H., 1944-1985)

Goodness was 
a fever in you. Anyone

might glow in the heat of it, 
go home comforted—

for them a shawl, for you
fire at the bone.


You knew
more than was good for you.
Your innocence
Was peat-bog water, subtle and dark, 
that cold it was,
that pure.


Kindness—didn’t we act as though
we could cut an endless supply from you
like turf from a bog?


Smoke of that empty hearth
fragrant still.
Your words 
cupped in our hands to drink.
But you—
you’re gone and we never
really saw you.