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FURTHER READING
Poems by Carl Dennis
Change
In Paris
Meaning
Thanks and Gratitude
A List of Praises
by Anne Porter
A Toast
by Ilya Kaminsky
Around Us
by Marvin Bell
Dusting
by Marilyn Nelson
For the Fallen
by Laurence Binyon
For the Twentieth Century
by Frank Bidart
Lift Every Voice and Sing
by James Weldon Johnson
Mass for the Day of St. Thomas Didymus [excerpt]
by Denise Levertov
Rabbi Ben Ezra
by Robert Browning
Slow Waltz Through Inflatable Landscape
by Christian Hawkey
Starfish
by Eleanor Lerman
Thank You For Saying Thank You
by Charles Bernstein
Thanks
by W. S. Merwin
The Culture of Glass
by Thylias Moss
The Routine Things Around the House
by Stephen Dunn
The Teacher
by Hilarie Jones
The Thanksgivings
by Harriet Maxwell Converse
The Triumph of Time
by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Two Countries
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Visiting Pai-an Pavilion
by Hsieh Ling-yun
What Was Told, That
by Jalalu'l-din Rumi
Politics and Patriotism
Howl, Parts I & II
by Allen Ginsberg
America
by James Monroe Whitfield
America
by Robert Creeley
America
by Claude McKay
American History
by Michael S. Harper
American Names
by Stephen Vincent Benét
Bomb Crater Sky
by Lam Thi My Da
Dear George Bush
by Kristin Prevallet
December 2, 2002
by Juliana Spahr
Delicate Cluster
by Walt Whitman
Dolphinating
by Juan Felipe Herrera
Election Day, November, 1884
by Walt Whitman
Election Year
by Donald Revell
Exquisite Candidate
by Denise Duhamel
Exquisite Politics
by Denise Duhamel
Fellini in Purgatory
by Jean Valentine
Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind
by Carl Sandburg
How We Did It
by Muriel Rukeyser
I, Too, Sing America
by Langston Hughes
In a Country
by Larry Levis
it: a user’s guide
by Evie Shockley
Let America Be America Again
by Langston Hughes
Modern Declaration
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds
by Eleanor Lerman
Patriotics
by David Baker
Praise Song for the Day
by Elizabeth Alexander
The Condoleezza Suite [Excerpt]
by Nikky Finney
The Throats of Guantánamo
by Katie Ford
Thoughts
by Walt Whitman
To Roosevelt
by Rubén Darío
Poems for Thanksgiving
América
by Richard Blanco
Eternity
by William Blake
Fire Dreams
by Carl Sandburg
Grace For a Child
by Robert Herrick
Mass for the Day of St. Thomas Didymus [excerpt]
by Denise Levertov
One day is there of the series
by Emily Dickinson
Signs of the Times
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Te Deum
by Charles Reznikoff
Thanksgiving
by Edgar Guest
Thanksgiving Day
by Lydia Maria Child
The Culture of Glass
by Thylias Moss
The Harvest Moon
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The Pumpkin
by John Greenleaf Whittier
The Thanksgivings
by Harriet Maxwell Converse
The Transparent Man
by Anthony Hecht
Sponsor a Poet Page | Add to Notebook | Email to Friend | Print

Thanksgiving Letter from Harry

 
by Carl Dennis

I guess I have to begin by admitting
I'm thankful today I don't reside in a country
My country has chosen to liberate,
That Bridgeport's my home, not Baghdad.
Thankful my chances are good, when I leave
For the Super Duper, that I'll be returning.
And I'm thankful my TV set is still broken.
No point in wasting energy feeling shame
For the havoc inflicted on others in my name
When I need all the strength I can muster
To teach my eighth-grade class in the low-rent district.
There, at least, I don't feel powerless.
There my choices can make some difference.

This month I'd like to believe I've widened
My students' choice of vocation, though the odds
My history lessons on working the land
Will inspire any of them to farm
Are almost as small as the odds
One will become a monk or nun
Trained in the Buddhist practice
We studied last month in the unit on India.
The point is to get them suspecting the world
They know first hand isn't the only world.

As for the calling of soldier, if it comes up in class,
It's not because I feel obliged to include it,
As you, as a writer, may feel obliged.
A student may happen to introduce it,
As a girl did yesterday when she read her essay
About her older brother, Ramon,
Listed as "missing in action" three years ago,
And about her dad, who won't agree with her mom
And the social worker on how small the odds are
That Ramon's alive, a prisoner in the mountains.

I didn't allow the discussion that followed
More time than I allowed for the other essays.
And I wouldn't take sides: not with the group
That thought the father, having grieved enough,
Ought to move on to the life still left him;
Not with the group that was glad he hadn't made do
With the next-to-nothing the world's provided,
That instead he's invested his trust in a story
That saves the world from shameful failure.

Let me know of any recent attempts on your part
To save our fellow-citizens from themselves.
In the meantime, if you want to borrow Ramon
For a narrative of your own, remember that any scene
Where he appears under guard in a mountain village
Should be confined to the realm of longing. There
His captors may leave him when they move on.
There his wounds may be healed,
His health restored. A total recovery
Except for a lingering fog of forgetfulness
A father dreams he can burn away.






From Unknown Friends, Copyright © 2007 by Carl Dennis. Reprinted with permission of Penguin.
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