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About this Poem 
“What makes a great landscape more than merely pleasing—that's the question that got me started on this poem. What makes it seem as if something important is being revealed about the way the world is put together? The poem doesn't try to answer these questions so much as to raise them in a way that sharpens the experience of being haunted.”
—Carl Dennis
 

A Landscape

This painting of a barn and barnyard near sundown
May be enough to suggest we don’t have to turn
From the visible world to the invisible
In order to grasp the truth of things.
We don’t always have to distrust appearances.
Not if we’re patient. Not if we’re willing
To wait for the sun to reach the angle
When whatever it touches, however retiring,
Feels invited to step forward
Into a moment that might seem to us
Familiar if we gave ourselves more often
To the task of witnessing. Now to witness
A barn and barnyard on a day of rest
When the usual veil of dust and smoke
Is lifted a moment and things appear
To resemble closely what in fact they are.

From Night School by Carl Dennis, published by Penguin Poets, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2018 by Carl Dennis. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 26, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

From Night School by Carl Dennis, published by Penguin Poets, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2018 by Carl Dennis. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 26, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Carl Dennis

Carl Dennis

Carl Dennis was born on September 17, 1939, in St. Louis, Missouri, and attended both Oberlin College and the University of Chicago before completing his bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota. He earned his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.

by this poet

poem

Don't be chagrined that your novel,
Which yesterday seemed done at last,
Is revealed in the light of morning
To be only your latest draft.
It could mean that your vision cleared
While you were sleeping, your sense of fitness
Grows in the night like corn or bamboo.

Don't assume

poem
Today as we walk in Paris I promise to focus
More on the sights before us than on the woman
We noticed yesterday in the photograph at the print shop,
The slender brunette who looked like you
As she posed with a violin case by a horse-drawn omnibus
Near the Luxembourg Gardens. Today I won't linger long
On the
poem
If a life needn’t be useful to be meaningful,
Then maybe a life of sunbathing on a beach
Can be thought of as meaningful for at least a few,
The few, say, who view the sun as a god
And consider basking a form of worship.

As for those devoted to partnership with a surfboard
Or a pair of ice skates or a bag of