Your Sunday Poem
This is from BillyCollins’ new book of poems, Ballistics, which can be ordered from your local bookstore. Support a poet today; buy his book. And a dictionary to look up the title of this poem.
If I lived across the street from myself
and I was sitting in the dark
on the edge of the bed
at five o’clock in the morning,
I might be wondering what the light
was doing on in my study at this hour,
yet here I am at my desk
in the study wondering the very same thing.
I know I did not have to rise so early
to cut open with a penknife
the bundles of papers at a newsstand
as the man across the street might be thinking.
Clearly, I am not a farmer or milkman.
And I am not the man across the street
who sits in the dark because sleep
is his mother and he is one of her many orphans.
Maybe I am awake just to listen
to the faint, high-pitched ringing
of tungsten in the single lightbulb
which sounds like the rustling of trees.
Or is it my job simply to sit as still
as the glass of water on the night table
of the man across the street,
as still as a photograph of my wife in a frame?
But there’s the first bird to deliver his call,
and there’s the reason I am up –
to catch the three-note song of that bird
and now to wait with him for some reply.