Thursday, May 5, 2016

So Much.

Dear Bustling,
I have so much to tell you, and so little time to do it in.  For example, I want to tell you about the journals I am transmuting into these little sculptures, and I want to try to explain why we have come to have a couch on our front porch, and I want to give a little pep talk on facing the long summer of sunshiny days ahead of us, and then there are the new fawns with their dappled coats, and I want to make a plan with you for plotting a map of the times, dates and places that strangers speak to us.  We will need to determine some guidelines for our map- should we note the weather?  The gender of the speaker?  Age?  General description?  The sense of awareness just prior to the encounter?  The density of people in the immediate area?
So much to do and tell.  It has taken three readings and two hearings* of this poem before I was absolutely convinced of this poem's worthiness to be presented to you-  I hope you enjoy getting to know it as much as I have.
Aimless Love 
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.
"Aimless Love" by Billy Collins, from Aimless Love. © Random House, 2013.
 *  Hear it here, read by the author.