Billy Collins

(22 March 1941 - / New York City)

Dear Reader



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  • James Buja (10/1/2006 1:03:00 PM)

    Baudelaire considers you his brother,
    and Fielding calls out to you every few paragraphs
    as if to make sure you have not closed the book,
    and now I am summoning you up again,
    attentive ghost, dark silent figure standing
    in the doorway of these words.

    Pope welcomes you into the glow of his study,
    takes down a leather-bound Ovid to show you.
    Tennyson lifts the latch to a moated garden,
    and with Yeats you lean against a broken pear tree,
    the day hooded by low clouds.

    But now you are here with me,
    composed in the open field of this page,
    no room or manicured garden to enclose us,
    no Zeitgeist marching in the background,
    no heavy ethos thrown over us like a cloak.

    Instead, our meeting is so brief and accidental,
    unnoticed by the monocled eye of History,
    you could be the man I held the door for
    this morning at the bank or post office
    or the one who wrapped my speckled fish.
    You could be someone I passed on the street
    or the face behind the wheel of an oncoming car.

    The sunlight flashes off your windshield,
    and when I look up into the small, posted mirror,
    I watch you diminish—my echo, my twin—
    and vanish around a curve in this whip
    of a road we can't help traveling together. (Report) Reply

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