ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Dana Gioia's "Thanks For Remembering Us"

Updated on October 8, 2017
Maya Shedd Temple profile image

Poetry became my passion, after I fell in love with Walter de la Mare's "Silver" in Mrs. Edna Pickett's sophomore English class, circa 1962.

Dana Gioia



California Poet Laureate Dana Gioia's speaker creates a little drama prompted by a mysterious bouquet of flowers being mistakenly delivered to his address.

Dana Gioia’s poem, “Thanks for Remembering Us,” consists of two rimed stanzas. The first stanza offers eight lines with the rime scheme, ABBCCDCD. The second stanza has ten lines but fewer rimes, ABCDAFGDHI. The poem focuses on the mystery of a couple’s receiving a mistaken delivery of flowers.

First Stanza: “The flowers sent here by mistake”
The speaker begins by revealing that the flowers arrived with “a name that no one knew.” The flowers have been adorning their house for several weeks because they are now “turning bad.” After the flowers first arrived, they made some effort to locate the real target of that delivery, but they found out that their neighbors did not recognize the name of the woman who sent them.

There is no one in the household who has a birthday. The speaker asks, “What shall he do?” And they did all that could, it seems. But the speaker has a nagging feeling that someone ought to be thanked “for the blunder,” thus accounting for the poem’s title.

The speaker then adds to the mystery by offering the possibility that one of them is “having an affair.” He says that after that suggestion, they first laugh, but then feel that they are not so sure.

Second Stanza: “The iris was the first to die”
The speaker then dramatizes the demise of the once lovely bouquet that arrived unbidden. The reader learns that the bouquet was made up of irises, roses, and ferns. Now the iris has died first. The speaker offers a dramatic description of the dead iris: “[t]he iris was the first to die, / enshrouded in its sickly-sweet / and lingering perfume.”

Next, the roses die, each petal falls one at a time. Perhaps the roses were also “enshrouded” in their “perfume.” The speaker appropriately leaves that olfactory image to the reader’s imagination, after having suggested it with the smell of the iris.

The speaker then claims that the “room smells like a funeral.” The funeral home where the deceased awaits the funeral service is usually adorned with many flowers that are pleasing to the eye as well as the nose. But the juxtaposition of the funeral home and this couple’s residential home is rather jarring, adding to the mystery and the jolt that this mistaken delivery has imposed on the household.

The speaker reports that the flowers continue to sit on their table looking, “too much at home.” He discerns that they seem to give off an accusing air of “some small crime.” He knows, however, that neither he nor his wife has committed any crimes. They cannot be held accountable for the blunder that caused the flowers to be mistakenly delivered to their address.

They could have thrown them out as soon as they arrived, or after they could not locate the correct recipient; however, they chose to retain them and allow them add beauty to their home. The final thought that the speaker is left with is, “we can't / throw out a gift we've never owned.”

They have, with reservations, enjoyed the bouquet, even though they have known all along they did not deserve it, because it was intended for someone else, and they will probably never know who that is.

© 2016 Linda Sue Grimes


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)