Saturday, May 2, 2009

Forgetting, but knowing it's okay

Some time back, I did a blog post which included a reading of Billy Collins' poem, Consolation.

Just before I turned in last night, a little alarm went off inside my head which indicated to me that I was about to go too long without reading to you, my loyal readers, a Billy Collins poem.

The selection was an easy one. I'm 55, and my memory is not what it used to far as I can recall. And, in my case, I'm adapting. It's not the end of the world, just a changing of the scenery, and a modest adjustment as I make lists instead of relying on memory. Then, I write a note to myself to remind me where the list is. It only takes a short email to help me recall where the note went which details the location of the list. See? Piece of cake.

As is my habit, the text of the poem follows the video. Not that my diction is lacking, but some of you may have difficulty with my lack of an accent. Next time, I promise to read a Collins poem with, perhaps, just the slightest lilt of a Scotsman.

Here, then, is Forgetfulness, by Billy Collins, read by your host.


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 names of 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.


Olivia said...

Yes, Rick, I am a loyal reader and you have gone TOO LONG, too long indeed. What a great choice of a poem and how apt for me as well! Loved your rendition and enjoyed seeing another video from you---whoo hoo! xo, O

Rick Hamrick said...

O--thanks for your commitment and your loyal desire to always consume more.

I'm feeling more videos on the way, but no promises.

Lynilu said...

Boy, ain't it the trut'?

I enjoyed hearing your voice. One of the missing components of internet relationships is the sound of the voice.


Rick Hamrick said...

Lynilu--when will you be doing video posts on your blog? I'll be right there to encourage you, I promise!

Thanks for stopping by, my friend.

(PS - remind me never to mess wit' youse)

Lynilu said...

Rick, it will be a while before I can do that sort of thing. I need to learn to edit video so I can cut off the ends of a clip. Living alone, I have no option but to start it, then run around and get seated, then hop up to turn it off! Nope, no one is going to see that silliness!