It is possible to be struck by a
meteor or a single-engine plane while
reading in a chair at home. Pedestrians
are flattened by safes falling from
rooftops mostly within the panels of the comics,
but still, we know it is
possible, as well as the flash of
summer lightning, the thermos toppling
over, spilling out on the grass.
And we know the message can be delivered from within.
The heart, no valentine, decides
to quit after lunch, the power shut off like a switch,
or a tiny dark ship is unmoored into the flow of the body's
rivers, the brain a monastery,
defenseless on the shore.
This is what I think about when I shovel compost
into a wheelbarrow, and when I fill
the long flower boxes, then press
into rows the limp roots of red
impatiens -- the instant hand of Death
always ready to burst forth from the
sleeve of his voluminous cloak. Then
the soil is full of marvels, bits of leaf
like flakes off a fresco, red-brown
pine needles, a beetle quick
to burrow back under the loam. Then
the wheelbarrow is a wilder blue, the clouds
a brighter white, and all I hear
is the rasp of the steel edge against
a round stone, the small plants
singing with lifted faces, and the click
of the sundial as one hour
sweeps into the next.
[I've said this before and I will reiterate -- I ADORE Billy Collins. His poetry is so fresh and alive. Vivid images pop, pop, pop like hot footed kettle corn in front of my eyes -- when reading his poetry. This poem is from his book "Picnic Lightning" If you don't have it go out and buy a copy. It truly is a wonderful addition to any library.]
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