For the next three weeks, allow me to share favorite poems from a new favorite poet, Billy Collins. I came across his poetry anthology, Aimless Love, while organizing a cart of reserves for our patrons. (Yay for new discoveries!)
Billy Collins is a two-term Poet Laureate. He was Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003, and again a Poet Laureate of New York State from 2004 to 2006. Aimless Love combines new poems and selected poems from four of his previous books, which I hope to find copies of and share them with you!
Poetry Friday round-up is hosted by Leigh Ann at A Day in the Life.
Originally, I was only going to share the “introductory” poem from Aimless Love. However, I came across a video of Billy Collins reading “Aimless Love,” which is actually a poem from his collection entitled, Nine Horses. I’ve included an excerpt of Aimless Love as well. I hope you enjoy this set of poems. More poems by Billy Collins next week!
Looker, gazer, skimmer, skipper
thumb-licking page turner, peruser,
you getting your print-fix for the day,
pencil-chewer, note taker, marginalianist
with your checks and X’s
first-timer or revisiter,
browser, speedster, English major,
flight-ready girl, melancholy boy,
invisible companion, thief, blind date, perfect stranger—
that is me rushing to the window
to see if it’s you passing under the shade trees
with a baby carriage or a dog on a leash,
me picking up the phone
to imagine your unimaginable number,
me standing by a map of the world
wondering where you are—
alone on a bench in a train station
or falling asleep, the book sliding to the floor.
Aimless Love (an excerpt)
This morning as I walked along the lakeshore
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table.
In the shadows of an autumn evening,
I fell for a seamstress
still at her machine in the tailor’s window,
and later for a bowl of broth,
steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.
This is the best kind of love, I thought,
without recompense, without gifts,
or unkind words, without suspicion,
or silence on the telephone.
The love of the chestnut,
the jazz cap and one hand on the wheel.
No lust, no slam of the door—
the love of the miniature orange tree,
the clean white shirt, the hot evening shower,
the highway that cuts across Florida.
No waiting, no huffiness, or rancor—
just a twinge every now and then