Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ballistics: Billy Collins

I've been slowly reading Ballistics since Christmas at a rate of about two poems a week.  I didn't want to rush through it because it isn't as if Billy Collins puts out a book of poetry every year.   But now that it is National Poetry Month I might start speeding up.

It hasn't struck me in the same way that Picnic, Lightening did, these poems are darker.  But I am enjoying it.   I thought I'd share one of them, choosing at random.

Looking Forward

Whenever I stare into the future,
the low, blue hills of the future,
shading my eyes with one hand,

I no longer see a city of opals
with a sunny river running through it
or a dark city of coal and gutters.

Nor do I see children
donning their apocalyptic goggles
and hiding in doorways.

All I see is me attending your burial
or you attending mine,
depending on who gets to go first.

There is a light rain.
A figure under an umbrella
is reading from a thick book with a black cover.

And a passing cemetery worker
has cut the engine to his backhoe
and is taking a drink from a bottle of water.

I told you they were dark.