Call it a field where the animals
who were forgotten by the Ark
come to graze under the evening clouds.
Or a cistern where the rain that fell
before history trickles over a concrete lip.
However you see it,
this is no place to set up
the three-legged easel of realism
or make a reader climb
over the many fences of a plot,
Let the portly novelist
with his noisy typewriter
describe the city where Francine was born,
how Albert read the paper on the train,
how curtains were blowing in the bedroom.
Let the playwright with her torn cardigan
and a dog curled on the rug
move the characters
from the wings to the stage
to face he many-eyed darkness of the house.
Poetry is not place for that.
We have enough to do
complaining about the price of tobacco,
passing the dribbling ladle,
and singing songs to a bird in a cage.
We are busy doing nothing--
and all we need for that is an afternoon,
a rowboat under a blue sky,
and maybe a man fishing from a stone bridge,
or, better still, nobody on that bridge at all.
Billy Collins, nacido William James Collins (EEUU, 1941). Docente, poeta y editor. Poeta Laureado de Estados Unidos de 2001 a 2003.