Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Tribute to National Poetry Month with Billy Collins

In case you didn't know it yet, I am passionate about poetry.   Always have been.  I do not write it, but savor the reading, the scent and taste of the words.  Poetry should be read aloud, always, and repeated often.  I suggest memorizing, (unless you're my age and you'll relate to this poem).
Then, keep reading for some further amusement by Billy Collins.


The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

If you don't know Billy Collins, you can hear him read one of his most famous:  "Litany" here on You Tube

Now, in case you haven't met the You Tube three-year-old sensation, here he is reciting the same poem.
I recommend you enjoy all of his poetry.


lori vliegen said...

oh my goodness, marie.....thanks SO much for sharing this! how in the world did i ever miss this sweet little guy reciting billy collins?! (most three-year-olds can't even say the ABC's.....!). xox
p.s. and thanks for your super sweet comment today.....back at 'ya she-ro friend...... :))

Mary Anne said...

I love Billy Collins poemse! Thanks for sharing this very aptly stated account of MY Problem :-}
This boy is too precious for words. I think he's profited from his 'kid friendly' environment and an attentive Mom. Love your blog!