Tuesday, February 3, 2009

poetic consolation

Billy Collins' poetic waxings below paint the picture of my present feelings about currently not being in Paris (as was planned) with my fellow study-abroadians, and the feelings of slight torment upon seeing all of their pictures at the Arc-de-Triomphe and Chartes and the Garnier Opera House and the like in my Facebook feed. . .
Waiting to enter the MTC is, well euphemistically, patience building.
Fill in the below references to Italy with all things Paris, France.


How agreeable it is not to be touring Italy this summer,

wandering her cities and ascending her torrid hilltowns.
How much better to cruise these local, familiar streets,
fully grasping the meaning of every roadsign and billboard
and all the sudden hand gestures of my compatriots.

There are no abbeys here, no crumbling frescoes or famous
domes and there is no need to memorize a succession
of kings or tour the dripping corners of a dungeon.
No need to stand around a sarcophagus, see Napoleon's
little bed on Elba, or view the bones of a saint under glass.

How much better to command the simple precinct of home
than be dwarfed by pillar, arch, and basilica.
Why hide my head in phrase books and wrinkled maps?
Why feed scenery into a hungry, one-eyes camera
eager to eat the world one monument at a time?

Instead of slouching in a café ignorant of the word for ice,
I will head down to the coffee shop and the waitress
known as Dot. I will slide into the flow of the morning
paper, all language barriers down,
rivers of idiom running freely, eggs over easy on the way.

And after breakfast, I will not have to find someone
willing to photograph me with my arm around the owner.
I will not puzzle over the bill or record in a journal
what I had to eat and how the sun came in the window.
It is enough to climb back into the car
as if it were the great car of English itself
and sounding my loud vernacular horn, speed off
down a road that will never lead to Rome, not even Bologna.

Billy Collins

read more about the witty, poet genius that is B. Collins here, and listen to this poem by Collins here or another great one here.

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