It’s a cloudy day here at the asylum (my new nickname for home). It’s the third cloudy day and the second with no rain. I’m not really complaining because I happen to like cloudy days. They make my allergies feel much better, and it’s cooler than it was. Tomorrow it’s due to be sunny again, and since it has been cloudy, that means it will probably be incredibly humid as well. I’m not looking forward to that.
But, it is cloudy again and makes me want to just stay inside with a hot cup of tea, a warm blanket on my legs, and a book in my hands or a movie playing. That’s the fantasy anyway. Instead, I have corned beef in the slow cooker for Reuben sandwiches for tonight’s dinner, a floor that desperately needs to be vacuumed, and a son needing to be picked up in a few hours for this weekend’s visit. Suddenly, there’s a lot to do.
I thought I’d do a featured poem, considering I haven’t done one in a while, if only because I’m feeling a little cheeky today. If you’ve peeked at my Goodreads list on the right side of the blog in the last few weeks, you’ll have noticed I’ve been reading a lot of Billy Collins lately. When I began reading his poetry, I wasn’t sure whether or not I’d like his style. But, after a (short) while I found I did. He’s thoughtful and funny, a sharp wit, and sentimental. I found a voice I didn’t think I’d find and it was a pleasant surprise.
While I enjoy most of his more thoughtful poems, the ones I truly love are the ironic and funny ones. Take Tension for example. The whole poem is a great example of irony, and I laughed the moment I began reading it. Another one I had a good time with was This Little Piggy Went to Market. It’s a good example of ‘beautiful nonsense’ as is his Bathtub Families poem. One that caught my attention and really wowed me was Divorce. It’s short, sharp, and to the point. But that’s not the one I want to share today. Today I want to share Tension because it’s just awesome. For more information on Billy Collins and to read more of his work you can click here.
By Billy Collins
“Never use the word suddenly just to
Suddenly, you were planting some yellow petunias
outside in the garden,
and suddenly I was in the study
looking up the word oligarchy for the thirty-seventh time.
When suddenly, without warning,
you planted the last petunia in the flat,
and I suddenly closed the dictionary
now that I was reminded of that vile form of governance.
A moment later, we found ourselves
standing suddenly in the kitchen
where you suddenly opened a can of cat food
and I just as suddenly watched you doing that.
I observed a window of leafy activity
and, beyond that, a bird perched on the edge
of the stone birdbath
when suddenly you announced you were leaving
to pick up a few things at the market
and I stunned you by impulsively
pointing out that we were getting low on butter
and another case of wine would not be a bad idea.
Who could tell what the next moment would hold?
Another drip from the faucet?
Another little spasm of the second hand?
Would the painting of a bowl of pears continue
to hang on the wall from that nail?
Would the heavy anthologies remain on their shelves?
Would the stove hold its position?
Suddenly, it was anyone’s guess.
The sun rose ever higher.
The state capitals remained motionless on the wall map
when suddenly I found myself lying on a couch
where I closed my eyes and without any warning
began to picture the Andes, of all places,
and a path that led over the mountain to another country
with strange customs and eye-catching hats
suddenly fringed with little colorful, dangling balls.