Sunday, January 05, 2014

Your Sunday Poem

Hooray!  One of my favorite poets, Billy Collins, has a new book out.  "Aimless Love, New and Selected Poems," Random House, N.Y.  Available at your local bookstore.  Go out an buy some poetry.  The poets will thank you. You will thank them for giving you new language with which to view your world.


There's a possum who appears here at odd times,
often walking up the path to the house
in the middle of the day like a little ghost
with a long tail and a blank expression on his face.

He likes to slip behind the woodpile,
but sometimes he gets to close to the window
where I am standing with a glass in my hand
that I start to review my sins, systematically

going from one commandment to the next.
What is it about him that causes me
to begin an examination of conscience,
calling to mind my failings in this time of reflection?

It could just be the twitching of the tail
and that white face, but his slow priestly pace
also makes a contribution, as do the tiny paws,
more like hands, really, with oposable thumbs

able to carry a nut or dig a hole in the earth
or lift a chalice above his head
or even deliver a document,
I am thinking as he nears the back door,
not merely a subpoena but an order
of excommunication with my name and a date
writtten in fine Italian ink
and signed with a flourish of the papal sash.


Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

What fun! Collins strikes again! Who says poetry has to be difficult and boring! They have obviously NOT read Billy Collins!

Anonymous said...

Interesting read; I have always thought of possums as "rats on steroids"- interesting how Mr. Collins has transposed that rat/shrew/possum face into a representation of the Catholic Church. Not being a Catholic myself, I would not make the same association, at least with this newest Pope; the last, um, maybe?

Bob from San Luis

Churadogs said...

Bob, I'm not Catholic either, but I loved the connection because watching possums, they're always so solemn and walk along with such a measured tread, with such a look of worried concentration on their faces. So serious. They remind me of monks in meditative prayer while walking along or a long line of elderly cardinals at a Papal funeral. That measured plod also has such seriousness about it, like the weight of the world is on their little shoulders. So picturing the little guy with a fancy surplice on his back, plodding to Billy's door to issue excommunication papers seems totally apt.

Except for this present Pope, as you note. Of course, if you compare this present Pope's face with so many of his dour, sourpuss, possum-faced Cardinals, Billy's comparison becomes even funnier.