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.

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