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Carl Dennis


Starry Night

Only a few stars are visible when I step outside For a walk to the mailbox with my packet of poems. In a week or two Mary will take time out From preparing her class on Melville to read This latest offering to the temple of fruitful pages. She'll mar [...]

Your City

How much would it take for this city That so far has belonged to others To be yours as well, The houses set in rows and each row named So you can find the garden of your new acquaintance Long before sundown, just as you promised, And the talk has tim [...]


The way I admire this couch, unsuitable for my house, In the window of Gardner's Antique Furniture And brood on its curves and subtle carvings, Would convince you, if you were here, That I can be intimate now with the beautiful On its own terms, with [...]

Our Guardians

Not one prayer in their direction, But we've always revered them, our guardians. Stingy with gifts like all gods But lavish in examples. As fruitful for us to follow them As for a metal worker in Greece To keep in mind the sky forge, For a bowman to [...]

The Band

Pensioners fondle the books in the sidewalk bins For the big bargains, two for a dollar: Eat Yourself Slim, Secret Missions of the Civil War, Great Train Wrecks, Photographing Your Dog. At home on their tables the books, never finished, pile up, Thei [...]

In the West

My mother's father missed out on Swami Muktananda. He thought that the suits he pressed for 29 years In the basement of Famous-Bar Department Store Were real, real as his skill on the French horn, As his pride in the marches he composed for the store [...]

The Descent

One of these fine days all those who wronged you, Having failed to forgive themselves, will return And row ashore, a raggedy crew, Like Homer's battered Greeks returning from war. Up from the dock they'll stagger With armloads of drenched gifts To st [...]