Donald Levering


       And to myself? I offer only the crooked grin of the toad
             – Lawrence Durrell

To the future, I give the rind of the past,
the dented stone from kneeling knees
in the floor of Chartres Cathedral,
the question mark of the staircase standing
among Turkish earthquake rubble.
To History, the notes
of eleventh century troubadours
floating to Andromeda
and footprints on the moon.
To Plato I give back my breath,
that was his from a prior millennium.
To poetry I leave behind
the obsessive sestina.
To the wounded of Gettysburg,
Walt Whitman reading letters
from home. To refugees, my good
blucher boots. To the Redeemer,
permission to forgive himself
for letting the dead sleep another century.
To the anxious I give my wristwatch,
to the well-intentioned
"The Hesitation Blues."
To the raven, chess pieces,
smashed aluminum cans,
the deed to the Kingdom of Language.
To the United States I leave old glories.
Science gets Watson’s dream
of the double-helix,
while Art inherits
the scent of love-beds.
To the womb of the Black Madonna
I bequeath the semen of the Irish elk,
the eggs of the last tree frog.
To the sewers, excrement
of six billion souls, to the fields
of praise, tulip bulbs.
To fathers and mothers, portraits
of their fathers and mothers.
To the mirrors, facing mirrors
and the dreams imprisoned within.
To prisoners go my tattered copies
of Shakespeare. To the new year,
old pornographic calendars,
to the old habits, their fears.
To the fashionable I leave
my hem line, to the insincere
the headache of holding a smile.
To musicians, I give Bach’s organ
of hearing, I give them the song
to do over and over
along with my Bantu drum.
To lovers, I offer ears
that are deaf to prophecy.

From a book manuscript, The Dog Of The Apocalypse

Date of Birth: June 19, 1949
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Occupation: Human Services Administrator
Books: Six books, the two most recent are: The Fast of Thoth, Pudding House, 2002 and Horsetail, Woodley, 2000
Awards: NEA Fellowship

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