By Richard Hoffman

What I have given to sorrow,
though I have poured out
all I am again and again,
does not amount to much.

One winter’s snows.
Two loves I could not welcome.
A year of mostly silence.
Another man I might have been.

(Today’s poem originally appeared in AGNI and appears here today with permission from the poet.)

Richard Hoffman is author of the poetry collections, Without Paradise, Gold Star Road, winner of the 2006 Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize and the New England Poetry Club’s Sheila Motton Book Award, and Emblem, as well as the short story collection Interference & Other Stories, and the celebrated memoir, Half the House. He teaches at Emerson College, and currently serves as Chair of PEN New England.

Editor’s Note: After more than two years as the editor of this weekly series, this past Saturday I neglected to feature a poet here for the first time. I was caring for my ill father, and the rest of the world slipped away from me for a few days.

It is difficult to come to terms with sorrow, but the act and art of poetry can function as a medium for shared experience. Today’s poem is both an outlet and an entry point for communion, a masterful confession that can read like an entry in the reader’s own diary.

Want to see more by Richard Hoffman?
Richard Hoffman’s Official Website
Janus Head
“What Good” in Solstice
“Fruit in Season” in Solstice

About Sivan Butler-Rotholz

Sivan is the Managing Editor of the Saturday Poetry Series on As It Ought To Be and holds an MFA from Brooklyn College. She is a professor, writer, editor, comic artist, and attorney emerita. She is also the founder of Reviving Herstory. Sivan welcomes feedback, poetry submissions, and solicitations of her writing via email at sivan.sf [at] gmail [dot] com.
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  1. Georgia Kreiger says:

    I love this immaculately concise poem. Its mere eight lines leaves the reader (me) with the very sensations that define sorrow. Thank you so much for introducing me to this poem and its poet.

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