Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A poem with two numbers

My friend Carol Ann Heckman has studied with Denise Levertov and feeds voraciously on her work.  For many years I have loved Levertov's "The Secret" and today, rereading an email from Carol Ann, I went looking for a mathy poem by this beloved poet.  I found the following -- with two numbers (and a hint of recursion):

     The Mockingbird of Mockingbirds     by Denise Levertov

     A greyish bird
     the size perhaps of two plump sparrows,
     fallen in some field,
     soon flattened, a dry
     mess of feathers--
     and no one knows
     this was a prince among his kind,
     virtuoso of virtuosos,
     lord of a thousand songs,
     debonair, elaborate in invention, fantasist,
     rival of nightingales.

This poem rests on my bookshelf in Levertov's collection, Breathing the Water (New Directions, 1987).


  1. The mockingbird poem is still fresh! Thank you for the gift.