A Door in the Hive by Denise Levertov

Review by Fr. Dan Lackie, ofm

This collection of poems awakened me not only to the value of contemporary poetry, but also to the feel, the sound, and the beauty of Franciscan theology when absorbed into life experience and given expression by a master of the poetic craft. The book includes Levertov’s libretto for an oratorio on the martyrdoms of El Salvador, including that of St. Oscar Romero, along with a highly compacted 12-line treatise “On the Mystery of the Incarnation” which I recently heard quoted to great effect with reference to the Roman Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal. In an explicitly Franciscan vein, the concluding lines of “A Traveler” capture the book’s compelling dare to be hopeful: “I’ll chance/the pilgrim sandals”.