I love this poem.

Forgetfulness.  By Billy Collins

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.


My mind is a colander at the moment. I’m beginning to think that lists are probably a good idea. Maybe it’s the inevitable passage of time? I have a birthday coming up next month so perhaps it’s Father Time tapping me on the shoulder. Or maybe it’s because I’m Busy and Important and mere details cannot fetter me.

Maybe I need a good night’s sleep.

Now that’s a good idea. I’ll get the boys to clean the kitchen and lock up the chooks and I’ll call it a night. (I’m reading ‘Longbourne’ by Jo Baker. It’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ told from the point of view of the servants. According to my ipad I’m 22% of the way through and I’m really enjoying it.) There’s worse things than going to bed with a posse of servants.

Thermomix Recipe: Chicken Chorizo Stew by Julie Goodwin of Masterchef. I have the ingredients in the freezer. Woo hoo!

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One Response to I love this poem.

  1. Urspo says:

    I like it a lot ; I am putting it in my collection of ‘favorites’.

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