Thursday, March 04, 2010

Some Poetry at Breakfast

Originally uploaded by w e n d y

Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria
jotted along the borders of the Gospels…
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.
Billy Collins, Marginalia

Oh, that last line got me and I had to read it over one more time:
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.

Don’t we all do that? Or try? Or hope?
And what might that vessel be?
Not that I thought all these words. No, they stirred around inside me quite unspoken as I stirred my oat meat in its bowl and read the words yet a third time enjoying once again all the questions still unheard.

I’ve been reading Billy Collins for the past week in small, delicious bites: at breakfast, at the hospital, reading aloud a poem or two to Mom and my sister as we wait for doctors, for drugs to help, for healing to begin, for the next “to do.”

It’s been nice. We’re not a family given to reading poetry to one another.
But this past week it has been just right, and this morning Billy didn’t fail me:

Some days I put the people in their places at the table,
bend their legs at the knees,
if they come with that feature,
and fix them into the tiny wooden chairs.

All afternoon they face one another,
the man in the brown suit,
the woman in the blue dress,
perfectly motionless, perfectly behaved.

But other days, I am the one
who is lifted up by the ribs,
then lowered into the dining room of a dollhouse
to sit with the others at the long table.

Very funny,
but how would you like it
if you never knew from one day to the next
if you were going to spend it

striding around like a vivid god,
your shoulders in the clouds,
or sitting down there amidst the wallpaper,
staring straight ahead with your little plastic face?

How would you like it?
I can tell you that this past week I have found it rough going
And the very essence of awakening.

Some Days, by Billy Collins

Photo courtesy of Wendy


Hysterical Boredom said...

lovely poetry selections and commentary

Pat Bralley said...

Glad you enjoyed - though I can take little credit beyond probable copyright infringement.
Thanks for taking the time to write.

Andreea said...

great poem!