‘Blood’ by Carl Dennis | Original poem | The TLS

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When I’m not in the mood to learn from others,
I still have to put up with the preaching
From entities closer to home, like the blood
That circulates without fuss or fanfare
Through the winding confines of my veins and arteries,
Making a case for the quiet, uncompetitive life
As it eases along unnoticed at a leisurely
Two miles an hour, in a pinch maybe three,
Nine pints that appear to harbor no wish
To be ten pints or eleven, or a shade of red
Deeper or brighter than other specimens.
No interest, in fact, in anything but in reaching
Every byroad and alley within its circuit
With the kind of fairness and thoroughness
It seems to suggest I take as an example
For any task that I make my own.
Never once has it been tempted to ask
Whether another locale might offer more
Opportunities to be valued as it deserves.
Always the silent sermon of its tireless constancy
As it approaches with joy the frontier outpost
Of toe or finger. How good to be here again
Among these stalwarts, it keeps repeating.
How rewarding to bring them on time
The fresh supplies they’ve been hoping for.

Carl Dennis’s most recent book of poems, Earthborn, was published in 2022

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