"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A poet "passing time"

American poet Billy Collins' new book Ballistics, tells you he's getting old--reading between the lines and the lines themselves. Susan gave me the book, inscribed , prophetically inscribed "We have shared this poet a long time...."

Such imagery from the former poet laureate of the United States...and many lines I've marked because I can see myself there.

From The First Night (we're dead): "This is where language will stop, ..."
From Scenes of Hell: "the boss trapped in an hourglass, ..."
From Carpe Diem: "not just another card in the deck of the year,..."
From The Lamp Unlit: "as the caravan of time crosses the sand, ...."
From "On the Death of a Next-Door Neighbor: "it seemed that death had blundered once again...
"that sent his car up the long winding driveway?...
"If only death had consulted his cracked leather map...."

No, they're not all about death--some great images from Paris-- and they're not all depressing, but, perhaps like Johnny Cash's final songs as death approached, these images are always present as time passes and Collins' writing brings fresh thoughts to mind. This is certainly poetry, but it's also non-fiction.

2 comments:

  1. Hmm... I suppose it could be called the non-fiction of the persona Collins writes through. The man in the poem is definitely not him, from what I know of him.

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  2. Ah, probably, but truth is non-fiction

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