Poem of the Week by Carl Dennis - The Buffalo News

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Poem of the Week by Carl Dennis

By Carl Dennis

Don’t let the quarreling near the end

Convince you the breakup would have been predictable

From the beginning to somebody more insightful.

Remember that any suggestion back then

Of the actual outcome would have been swept aside

By the evidence that the joys you shared

With your beloved would prove enduring:

The joy on workdays of cooking supper together,

The joy on weekends of rambling the woods

With no agenda.

The silences weren’t a sign of holding back,

They were calm and easy, your thoughts

Drifting away on a stream of association

And then returning with a sprig of woodland flowers.

Here, this is for you, each said, and meant it.

And remember the climb you loved, to the ridge,

The wide view of the valley that left you both

Feeling open to whatever the day might offer.

Don’t diminish those moments now by wondering

What you could have done to make them last

Had you been attentive enough to cherish them.

You were happy back then, remember,

And knew you were happy.

What you need now isn’t the work

Of regret but the work of gratitude.

And all it takes to be grateful is to feel grateful.

Go back to the beginning and embrace its bounty.

Beneath the story of cause and consequence

Another story is pointing another way.

CARL DENNIS will read from his new book of poems, “Another Reason” (Penguin Books), at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Butler Mansion, 672 Delaware Ave. (at North Street) as sponsored by the University at Buffalo English Department. A Buffalo resident and professor of English (now emeritus) at UB since 1966, he is the author of 12 full-length collections including “Signs and Wonders” (1979), “The Outskirts of Troy” (1988), “Ranking the Wishes” (1997) and “Practical Gods” (2001), for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 2002. In 2000, he was awarded the Ruth Lilly Prize for lifetime achievement in American poetry by the Poetry Foundation. This is the concluding poem of his new book.

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