Your Sunday Poem
On a Monday because Sunday slipped away before I could get to the computer. Billy Collins is one of my favorite poets. He’s a sly boots who has to be watched carefully. You think his lines are smooth silver tangles that you can slide down safely and joyously, but there’s always hidden hooks there to catch and astonish or to tear the heart. These two are from his new book of poems, “Ballistics.”
August in Paris
I have stopped here on the rue des Ecoles
just off the boulevard St-Germain
to look over the shoulder of a man
in a flannel shirt and a straw hat
who has set up an easel and a canvas chair
on the sidewalk in order to paint from a droll angle
a side-view of the Church of Saint Thomas Aquinas.
But where are you, reader,
who have not paused in your walk
to look over my shoulder
to see what I am jotting in this notebook?
Alone in this city,
I sometimes wonder what you look like,
if you are wearing a flannel shirt
or a wraparound blue skirt held together by a pin.
But every time I turn around
you have fled through a crease in the air
to a quiet room where the shutters are closed
against the heat of the afternoon,
where there is only the sound of your breathing
and every so often the turning of a page.
Once two spoons in bed,
now tined forks
across a granite table
and the knives they have hired.