Domestic Diplomacy

January 23, 2013

Photo courtesy Rodrigo Valladares

Though most of us are not formally known as diplomats, many of us learn to be experts at domestic diplomacy, and the sorts of complex negotiations we find ourselves in can require a lot of patience. Here’s Dan Gerber, who lives in California, showing us some of that patience. [Introduction by Ted Kooser.]


When you are angry it’s your gentle self
I love until that’s who you are.
In any case, I can’t love this anger any more
than I can warm my heart with ice.
I go on loving your smile
till it finds its way back to your face.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2011 by Dan Gerber. In 2012, Copper Canyon Press will publish Dan Gerber’s Sailing Through Cassiopeia. Poem reprinted by permission of Dan Gerber. Introduction copyright © 2013 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

You Might Also Like


  1. I loved this poem:~) It made me smile and the introduction is so true.

    The last line of the poem is my favorite.

    Thanks for sharing this:~)

  2. Sara--Glad you liked it. I loved the simpleness of the poem, yet I still knew exactly what he meant.

  3. I was quite taken by it too. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Claire and Mamta--I love how the poet has given us such strong image and feeling with so few words. Glad you liked it, too.

  5. I love it too - powerful and simple at the same time.

  6. You've just described my favorite type of poem: powerful and simple. Glad you like this one.