The “today isn’t Tuesday but this is still a poem, poem”. Aimless love.


by Billy Collins

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

for the wren who had built her nest
on a low branch overhanging the water
and for the dead mouse,
still dressed in its light brown suit.

But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.

After I carried the mouse by the tail
to a pile of leaves in the woods,
I found myself standing at the bathroom sink
gazing down affectionately at the soap,

so patient and soluble,
so at home in its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hands
and caught the scent of lavender and stone.

I love Billy Collins’ poetry – its intimacy and apparent simplicity so often strike to the heart of his chosen subjects as well as of his readers. This one is especially immediate, and it’s also particularly resonant for me because I so often feel a burst of happiness – of love or connection: call it what you will – for unexpected objects. And Collins’ affection for soap, which he expresses in the last stanza, is something with which I found an instant happy connection – I’ve developed a love affair with the soap supplied at the peerless Crown & Castle hotel in Orford, and buy it in extravagant quantities whenever I’m there.

So, I hear you, Billy Collins. And thank you.

If you’d like to read more poems go to the main hub site, where a different poem is posted each week. Further poems can be found on the blogs of the Tuesday poet members in the sidebar.

4 Responses to “The “today isn’t Tuesday but this is still a poem, poem”. Aimless love.”

  1. Keith Westwater Says:

    Thanks Belinda – vintage Billy and one I have not read before.

  2. admin Says:

    Yes, he really nails it in this one doesn’t he? Very glad you liked it.

  3. Helen McKinlay Says:

    He is so in touch and knows how to write about it. I’m in love with the touch of envy I feel for Billy Collin’s poems.

  4. admin Says:

    Thanks Helen, I’m so glad you liked it.

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