Jill Bolte Taylor's Stroke of Insight

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

This one's for you, Billy

I confess to a crush on Billy Collins.  For those who don't know (don't feel bad, he's a poet and thus doesn't fall in the same category of fame as, say, Ryan Gosling) he is an American poet.  In fact he was America's Poet Laureate from 2001-2003, and yes, he's currently alive and writing.  I wrote the following after reading his book Questions About Angels about fifteen times in a row.  (Obsess much?)  He'd probably tear it apart, but he'll never read it and so I have nothing to fear.


Excavation

At its core, poetry
is anthropology.
You know the words are there
beneath layers of earth
or psyche, and all that remains
is to dig.
Some days it's all effort and no payoff:
you haul in the machines to drag the words
to the surface, and rearrange them into 
something resembling a boneyard.
Their hollow skulls stare
up out of the page, looking lost
as if their subterranean forms could only survive
buried deep in the mad dreams they came from.

Other poems are light as loam
just beneath the crust, cradled
in the roots of trees--
undamaged, their perfect skeletons
ready for display.


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