April is National Poetry Month and I almost forgot!
When I was an English major, poetry, especially American poetry, was my specialty. I wrote it, studied it, memorized it, listened to recordings of it and talked about it. Now poetry is not a huge part of my life. I miss it. I still have many poems trapped in my brain, but now they are snips and clips of there former selves.
So to honor the National Poetry Month and my , I give you former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins. Ironically, his poem "Forgetfulness" is one of the only poems that I can still quote by heart. He is by far the most accessible contemporary poet. With his causal and non-elitist voice, he brings poetry to the masses. There are many recordings of him reading his poetry which you can access on his website. He also uses the ordinary to access the extraordinary which I think is the goal of most poetry.
Enjoy this poem and find others to connect with!
Forgetfulness by Billy Collins
The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusions, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,
as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a small fishing village where there are no phones.
Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watch the quadratic equation packs 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 you are trying 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 a 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.
Your Turn: What poems can you not live without? Are you celebrating National Poetry Month with reading or writing of poetry? Can poetry be made necessary in everyday life?