Sunday, April 8, 2012

Poem for a Monday

Happy National Poetry month! I've been having Google problems lately (grrrr .... ) so this blog is late and it's already nine days into National Poetry Month. Ah well.

In honor of a MONTH of poetry I wanted to call attention to a wonderful initiative by Maine Poet Laureate, Wesley McNair: Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry.

Each week a poem by a Maine poet is published in two dozen newspapers across the state.
My local paper doesn't participate in this (grrrr .....) but the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance archives all the selected poems, which you can check out here:

So, thank you, Wesley McNair, yay for the MWPA, and yay for National Poetry Month!

A few weeks ago I posted on this blog a poem called Transportation by Maine poet Kristen Lindquist. Last week Garrison Keillor read it on The Writer's Almanac, and this week, as I was looking for a Monday poem, I came across this one by Billy Collins. Like Kristen's, it's set in an airport, where the narrator feels a sort of communion with his fellow travelers.


At the gate, I sit in a row of blue seats
with the possible company of my death,
this sprawling miscellany of people -
carry-on bags and paperbacks -

that could be gathered in a flash
into a band of pilgrims on the last open road.
Not that I think
if our plane crumpled into a mountain

we would all ascend together,
holding hands like a ring of skydivers,
into a sudden gasp of brightness,
or that there would be some common place

for us to reunite to jubilize the moment,
some spaceless, pillarless Greece
where we could, at the count of three,
toss our ashes into the sunny air.

It's just that the way that man has his briefcase
so carefully arranged,
the way that girl is cooling her tea,
and the flow of the comb that woman

passes through her daughter's hair ...
and when you consider the altitude,
the secret parts of the engines,
and all the hard water and the deep canyons below ...

well, I just think it would be good if one of us
maybe stood up and said a few words,
or, so as not to involve the police,
at least quietly wrote something down.

Billy Collins served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003 and Poet Laureate of New York State from 2004 to 2006.

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