Must be time to post this poem that I've had for a few years. This was written by Billy Collins, no relation that I know of to my husband, also a Bill Collins! Billy was the Poet Laureate (the real one...) of the US a few years ago. Of course he is writing about the usual forgetfullness that comes to all of us...still I love this poem. My fishing village is getting to be quite populated!
Sue in Vancouver
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.
Billy Collins 2001-2003 Poet Laureate
(1941- ) Collins was born in New York City. He is one of AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best-selling poets. His books include Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected PoemsÃ¢â‚¬? in 2001, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Picnic, LightningÃ¢â‚¬? in 1998, and Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Art of DrowningÃ¢â‚¬? in 1995. In October 2004, Collins was the inaugural recipient of the Poetry FoundationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mark Twain Award for humorous poetry. He has served as a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library and he is a distinguished professor of English at Lehman College, City University of New York.