Friday, October 28, 2011


 Currently Reading: The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston

The lovely 1940s music wafting through my favorite local coffeeshop is evoking a desire for Billy Collins' poems and who am I to deny the music's calling? This is one of my many favorites from Billy Collins... like many of his poems, it takes ordinary, thoughtless actions and transforms them into meaningful and thought-provoking moments. This is one that must be read several times, savored like fresh, juicy fruit in the orchard.
"Harvest of Cherries", 1866, Robert Speare Dunning. One of my favorite works at the Art Institute. This and my Monet Haystacks. The haystacks and I have quite a love affair going on. :)
I Go Back to the House for a Book
by Billy Collins
I turn around on the gravel
and go back to the house for a book,
something to read at the doctor's office,
and while I am inside, running the finger
of inquisition along a shelf,
another me that did not bother
to go back to the house for a book
heads out on his own,
rolls down the driveway,
and swings left toward town,
a ghost in his ghost car,
another knot in the string of time,
a good three minutes ahead of me —
a spacing that will now continue
for the rest of my life.

Sometimes I think I see him
a few people in front of me on a line
or getting up from a table
to leave the restaurant just before I do,
slipping into his coat on the way out the door.
But there is no catching him,
no way to slow him down
and put us back in synch,
unless one day he decides to go back
to the house for something,
but I cannot imagine
for the life of me what that might be.

He is out there always before me,
blazing my trail, invisible scout,
hound that pulls me along,
shade I am doomed to follow,
my perfect double,
only bumped an inch into the future,
and not nearly as well-versed as I
in the love poems of Ovid —
I who went back to the house
that fateful winter morning and got the book.

There is no way to describe the pleasant and alarming twist this poem creates inside my stomach. It evokes images of a future, a person who is myself and yet not myself. Think of this: how many little actions or swift seconds have shaped our lives, unbeknownst to us? What little or obscure choices have led me to this moment, eating a grilled cheese sandwich in a lovely coffeeshop at 1:48 P.M. on an October Friday afternoon? The answer can never be known but it is fun to contemplate how fragile are the threads that weave our lives together. I hope my potential "perfect double" is having a fantastic life too. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts!

Keep On Reading...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...