Friday, August 26, 2016

Poetry Friday: Metropolis by Billy Collins

I haven't joined in on a Poetry Friday in a long time, but today I felt myself wanting to share this gem of a poem that I shared on FB four years ago. I love it when FB reminds me of what I shared, especially when it brings me back around to lovely words like these.

I think one reason I love Billy Collins so much is that he captures so many ordinary kinds of moments, and yet he always adds that one observation or one feeling that makes you catch your breath in wonder and think "oh yes!" or "me too!"

Here's his wonderful meditation on wandering through a museum on a rainy day.

by Billy Collins

These are my favorite museum rooms,
the out-of-the-way ones on the upper floors,
usually unpeopled except for a single guard
who appears and disappears in the maze of walls
where these minor American paintings are hung.

I like the calm rustic ones: a surface of lake,
the low bough of an oak like a long arm,
a blue smudge of distant hills,
anything with cows, especially if they are standing
in a stream, their large, vacuous faces
staring into the warm, nineteenth-century afternoon.
And if one has lowered her head to drink
and the painter has indicated with flecks of white
the water pouring down from the animal’s mouth,
then the day, I feel, has achieved a modest crest.

And if it is raining outside that day
and low clouds press down on city buildings
while people under umbrellas climb the marble steps,
I usually find myself in front of the still lifes,
those painstaking devotions to objects,
agreeable possessions laid out on the altar of a table.

The rest of it can be found here at the Billy Collins Facebook page.

The poetry roundup today is at My Juicy Little Universe. Happy reading! 


Julieanne said...

I agree. The ordinary connects us. This is a new one for me. Thank you!

Beth said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it! I always find Billy Collins makes a day better. :)

Tara Smith said...

I love the way Collins notices those quiet things that make all the difference. Thanks for sharing this poem today, it's a new Billy Collins treat for me.

Brenda Harsham said...

I haven't read this one before, but I like it. It's the mark of a true introvert that even in a public place, seeks a room that is quiet, still and nearly empty.

Beth said...

"...notices the quiet things that make all the difference." Yes, that's it exactly.

Beth said...

I think you're right, Brenda. Maybe that's one reason this poem resonates with me, because I am an introvert too!

Linda B said...

Billy Collins gives us permission to seek out those small things and glory in them, a good way to live. Thanks for this, one of his new to me.

Beth said...

You're quite welcome. I love sharing his poems!

Violet Nesdoly said...

Aw - thanks! I have rarely read a Billy Collins poem that I don't like. His observations are so detailed with a touch of droll.

Ruth said...

Thanks for introducing me to Billy Collins on Facebook! Now why hadn't I ever looked for him there?

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Your reason for loving Billy Collins is mine as well, Beth. Thank you for sharing this new-to-me poem today!

Mary Lee said...

I need a museum and a rainy day so I can

"feel the tongs of the world
letting go of me"

And what Ruth said -- not only did I like, but I marked "see first!"

Karen Edmisten said...

Billy makes everything and every day better.

Beth said...

Karen, he certainly does!

Mary Lee, I loved that line too!

Michelle, it's always lovely to meet another Billy Collins enthusiast!

Ruth, I can't remember how or why I stumbled onto Billy Collins on Facebook, but I'm glad I did!

Violet, yes! Droll is a good word!