poetry dose | one

Mondays can be long and hard, but usually I find Tuesdays hit me worse. I have found that letting myself curl up with some poetry makes for a more restorative evening in between.

I’ve mentioned on this blog before that I have a sporadically maintained poetry blog from my early college days. While I don’t update it often anymore, that doesn’t mean I don’t have six poems open in my tabs most of the time. (That’s how many I have open right now, actually.)

So for now, I’m going to be filling that gap by sharing one here on Monday nights. You can find a new category “poetry” in the right hand bar.billy collins, i go back to the house for a book I will be adding them to that old dog of a blog, too, and you can click through the quote images for a direct link to the text of the poem.

Without further ado… a poem from a poet whose work I first met in my 9th grade English class (taught by poet/saint Fr. Gordon Gilsdorf).

I Go Back To The House For A Book – Billy Collins

I turn around on the gravel
and go back to the house for a book,
something to read at the doctor’s office,
and while I am inside, running the finger
of inquisition along a shelf,
another me that did not bother
to go back to the house for a book
heads out on his own,
rolls down the driveway,
and swings left toward town,
a ghost in his ghost car,
another knot in the string of time,
a good three minutes ahead of me—
a spacing that will now continue
for the rest of my life.
Sometimes I think I see him
a few people in front of me on a line
or getting up from a table
to leave the restaurant just before I do,
slipping into his coat on the way out the door.
But there is no catching him,
no way to slow him down
and put us back in synch,
unless one day he decides to go back
to the house for something,
but I cannot imagine
for the life of me what that might be.
He is out there always before me,
blazing my trail, invisible scout,
hound that pulls me along,
shade I am doomed to follow,
my perfect double,
only bumped an inch into the future,
and not nearly as well-versed as I
in the love poems of Ovid—
I who went back to the house
that fateful winter morning and got the book.

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