But now you are here with me,
composed in the open field of this page
no room or manicured garden to enclose us,
no Zeitgeist marching in the background,
no heavy ethos thrown over us like a cloak.
Instead, our meeting is so brief and accidental,
unnoticed by the monocled eye of History,
you could be the man I held the door for
this morning at the bank or post office
or the one who wrapped my speckled fish.
You could be someone I passed on the street
or the face behind the wheel of an oncoming car.
The sunlight flashes off your windshield,
and when I look up in to the small, posted mirror,
I watch you diminish—my echo, my twin—
and vanish around a curve in this whip
of a road we can’t help traveling together.
— excerpt from “Dear Reader” by Billy Collins, from his anthology, The Art of Drowning
I originally had something else lined up for today’s Snippets, but I was reading Billy Collins yesterday and also watched Louder Than A Bomb and I felt some poetry should be in order. Billy Collins is one of my favorite poets. I love how his poems are about everyday, almost mundane things — like cigarettes (“The Best Cigarette”), or a cloud (“The Biography of a Cloud”) — and yet are never boring. Whether it’s his masterful grip on rhythm, or his choice of words, I always feel elevated in spirit whenever I read his stuff, and I fall in love with language all over again.
P. S. — Does anyone else feel rather giddy when he writes, “my speckled fish?” It seems so delightful, that phrase. Must be “speckled.” Such a fun word.