you’re gone and we never really saw you

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.

[Denise Levertov {1923-1997}, 'Missing Beatrice', from Breathing the Water]

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