I usually lie in my bed at night and watch a show on my phone. I’ve plowed through Schitt’s Creek (dear Alexis), I can destroy you (phenomenal), The Undoing (eeps), you name it, I saw it. But last night my eyes got tired of staring at a screen, so I snuggled up and read this …
Whale Day by Billy Collins. Have you read his poems? They are fun, surprising, talkative, profound. And you will be drawn into it right away. “I try to create a hospitable tone at the beginning of a poem,” Collins once said. “Jumping from the title to the first lines is like stepping into a canoe. Many things can go wrong. “
I don’t usually lie around reading poetry, but I was amazed at the feeling it made me. Relaxed, satisfied, inspired. My breathing slowed. It felt good physically.
And it’s funny because I originally intended to start a novel last night but got Collins’ poetry book off the shelf instead. In an interview with The Paris Review, Collins said, “One of the differences between a writer and a poet is that the writer moves into your home. I mean, it takes three days or three weeks to read a novel. I regard the writer as a house guest. The poet is more like someone who just appears. You know, a door opens and there’s the poet! He says something about life or death, closes the door and is gone. Who was this masked man? I like that kind of sudden appearance. It could be said that you do not exceed your reception. “
Sometimes I laughed; Sometimes I clutched my heart. When asked if he had a concept for the reader, he said, “She is that girl in high school who broke my heart and I hope that one day she will read my poetry and feel bad, what she did. No, the reader to me is someone who doesn’t care about me or has no legitimate interest. I start the poem assuming that I need to pique his interest. There is no pre-existing reason for you to care about me, let alone my family. So at the beginning of a poem there has to be a bait. I want the reader to be ready in the sidecar. Then it starts. “
Here we go!
Do you remember a long time ago we talked about memorizing poetry? I would like to memorize a poem, or maybe a couple, by Billy Collins. A reader named Lauren once said, “My professor at Columbia called this type of memorization an investment in your own ‘mental furniture’. He had memorized most of Shakespeare’s sonnets and he loved the idea that he always had those words in his head as furniture on which his thoughts could sit even in old age. “
Here’s the one I would remember, I think, although it’s impossible to choose between his poems like naming a favorite child.
No man is lonely when he eats spaghetti. – Christopher Morley
This time I was at a corner table at Pasta Vivace!
on this side street next to the old music store.
The place wasn’t crowded at all.
Just enough young men and women
came and wanted to keep me
busy as I sipped my campari and soda
and waited for the waiter to arrive with my pasta.
I imagined what the parents of all these people were
then I thought of all the guests as babies
with astonished looks on their tiny faces.
Then as they kept arriving and departing
hold the door for each other
they turned into skeletons in their caskets,
each is carried by six Husky Pallbearers,
who would be dead now
how soon I would be too long
for death is the magnetic north of poetry.
But first I have to insist on having the pleasure
to eat my linguini con vongole,
Dip pieces of crispy bread in the salty sauce.
because this is also a poem about happiness,
a feast for the senses
and of all men and women who come and go.
And if you turn your head a little like this
You can see me at a corner table
Swirl the pasta with a fork and spoon
like a child with a bib under his chin.
Thoughts? Have you ever read poetry? Do you have a favorite Please share below, I’d love to hear …
PS About being human and Kate Bär’s motherhood poems make me laugh and cry. And my other stupid hobby.
(Photo by I love Lucy.)