Tuesday, February 20, 2018

February 20: Series of Love Affairs, Billy Collins, "Aimless Love"

I slept in this morning because my kids got a day off from school.  Freezing rain last night that shagged the entire world with ice.  When I shoveled, the snow flaked up like pieces of dried paint.  It was heavy and wet.

I cleaned my house this afternoon, took my daughter to her orthodontist appointment.  Tomorrow morning, I rejoin my regular life.  Work and teaching and parenting and poetry.  Each competing for my attention.

Today, however, I had a chance to fall in love with a lot of things.  The layer of ice on my car.  The branches of the trees outside my window, still holding some frozen winterberries, red as paper cuts against the snow.  The omelet I had for breakfast.  The nap I took after lunch.

That really is what a day is all about.  A series of love affairs.  Ask Billy Collins.

Saint Marty is ready to fall in love with his pillow.

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.

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