Today is the 73rd birthday of Billy Collins, most well known as United States Poet Laureate from 2001-2003. In honor of his birthday, I would like to direct you to the above video (prepare to be amazed and also overcome by just how adorable a 3-year-old can be). I will also share with you one of his poems in written form. I encourage you to share one or both of these with someone you love as Mr Collins has a style which captures the confounding nature of love, the beauty found in simple moments, and the heartbreak of the the fleeting present with equal parts wit and charm. Many more happy returns to Mr Collins, and thanks for the inspiration over the years. If you have a poet or writer nearby, maybe give them a proxy hug and tell them its for Billy Collins, not them.
And now, a second poem…
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,
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 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.