Sunday, October 26, 2003

As I was saying here is the text of that Billy Collins poem from 'Poetry London':

Billy Collins
Turgenev
In the weak gray light before dawn
the bird song is so sustained and chaotic
it is as if every member of the orchestra
decided to sit wherever they wanted
and began to play without a conductor
and with only one listener sitting,
well, lying, really, on his back
in this great philharmonic hall
of hills, rivulets, and fields
where trees are circled by their shadows once a day,
where stars appear then disappear,
as they just did, on the high blue-black ceiling.

"Faith is a bird that feels the light,"
my mother used to say
quoting some Russian author,
"and sings before the day is bright."
Nice, now that she has boated off for good,
the way that couplet couples us
so well I can see us standing on a prominence.
She says the first line,
a pause, then I add the clincher,
then silence, no bird or songs,
only the two of us gazing over a wide, featureless expanse
like something out of Milton or Dante.

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