FORGETFULNESS



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 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.



Billy Collins
Poetry was invented as
a mnemonic device to
enable people
to remember their prayers...
so that we could remember what we had thought or what we had compiled...
to connect sense
to mind
to memory
to rhythm
to emotion.
~ Peter Davison
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Love/Life Poems
The First Fruit Salad
Almanac of Last Things
Lighting Your Birthday Cake
What We Need/First Calf
Emily Rose
Life
After an Absence
Crossroads
On the Way to Work
Misery Loves Company
Having Come This Far
First He Looked Confused
The Country of Marriage
Love Poem
In the Department Store
Poem for the Family
The Perfect Day
What She Was Wearing
These Love Poems
Forgetfulness
The Wildest Word
The Oldest Cowboy
The sun has burst the sky
Riveted
LAUNDRY DAY
LINKS
SHOE BOX
SITE MAP
SCRAPBOOK
POETRY
WELCOME!
VIEWS
DIURNAL
QUOTES
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Crusoe
Field Notes
Aunt Bobby
After Love
Lute Music
Cabbage Moths
Cutting the Cake
Advice to Men Seeking Love
Ex-boyfriends in Heaven
Anne Porter's Poetry
Deep
Nature Morte Au Plat Et Pommes
Failing and Flying
Let Hours
Early in the Morning
My Son
How to Like It
Fireflies
No Solicitations Allowed
In the Middle
My Methodist Grandmother Said
Some Talking in Bed
The Hammock
It Is Marvelous
Geology
Girlfriends
In My Own Mind
Peacock Display
In Praise of Imperfect Love
Great Cathedrals
Raking
Tomorrow
You Must Accept
September Twelfth, 2001
Slow Dancing on the Highway
Desire
Still
Cinderella's Diary
They Sit Together on the Porch
Yes
After Making Love We Hear Footsteps
Second Chance
What We Want
Vocations Club
Hug
Gamin
Boarding a Bus
I Married You
The Irrational Numbers of Longing
Down on My Knees
The Guest House
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Idyll
Marginalia
Mother, In Love at Sixty
Why I Have A Crush On You
The Marriage-Bed
Love After Love
On Faith
Briefly It Enters, Briefly Speaks
Habitation
Nude Descending a Staircase
The judge was decent, but...
The Mutes
Mahogany China
Heaven, 1963
The Blue Robe
Instructions
The Shirt
Losing Track
Marriage
Wedding
Sweet Darkness
The Fight
Passionate Shepherd to His Love
November Again Again
Softly
Love at First Sight
Sex Ed
Love Does That
The Portent
You Touch Me
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