Thursday, September 08, 2016

A window on a Monday

OK, it's Thursday, but I promised you a poem from Aimless Love by Billy Collins and here it is. It's longer than most poems I read, but it says so much about the everyday - Not just every Monday

Life through the slats

Monday - Billy Collins

The birds are in their trees
toast is in the toaster,
and the poets are at their windows.

They are at their windows
in every section of the tangerine of earth-
the Chinese poets looking up at the moon,
the American poets gazing out
at the pink and blue ribbons of sunrise

The clerks are at their desks,
the miners are down in their mines,
and the poets are looking out their windows
maybe with a cigarette, a cup of tea,
and maybe a flannel shirt or bathrobe is involved.

The proofreaders are playing the ping-pong
game of proofreading,
glancing back and forth from page to page,
the chefs are dicing celery and potatoes,
and the poets are at their windows
because it is their job for which
they are paid nothing every Friday afternoon.

Which window it hardly seems to matter
though many have a favorite,
for there is always something to see-
a bird grasping a thin branch,
the headlight of a taxi rounding a corner,
those two boys in wool caps angling across the street.

The fishermen bob in their boats,
the linemen climb their round poles,
the barbers wait by their mirrors and chairs,
and the poets continue to stare
at the cracked birdbath or a limb knocked down by the wind.

By now, it should go without saying
that what the oven is to the baker
and the berry-stained blouse to the dry cleaner,
so the window is to the poet.

Just think-
before the invention of the window,
the poets would have had to put on a jacket
and a winter hat to go outside
or remain indoors with only a wall to stare at.

And when I say a wall,
I do not mean a wall with striped wallpaper
and a sketch of a cow in a frame.

I mean a cold wall of fieldstones,
the wall of the medieval sonnet,
the original woman's heart of stone,
the stone caught in the throat of her poet-lover.

A many windowed world

I spend a lot of time looking out of and into windows. I wonder about the people who live beyond the windows I see, when I pass by and I wonder about the people who pass by my windows. The pictures are the views from various windows in the apartment we rented in San Francisco. It was in Chinatown and I wondered what aspect of their culture created these scenes from my window. Or was it just the close quartering of a big city, built precariously on, up and over mountains.

On the outside looking in

Have a poetic day!!

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