Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Never quit

Taken from

Monday, October 1, 2012

Billy Collins - Forgetfulness

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,
it is 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 you 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.