… forgetfulness

The Dad Poet has a great post on poetry and philosophy, using a beautiful poem by Billy Collins as a springboard, or maybe rather as a centerpiece, for the discussion. Following some links on The Dad Poets’ page, I ended up with some great animations made to Collins’ poems. Here is Forgetfulness

Forgetfulness – 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.

 

The other animations of Collins’ poems are just as fine, you can watch theme here

 


5 thoughts on “… forgetfulness

  1. Movingpoems.com, a site facilitated by Dave Bonta, has 11 Collins poems animated here: http://movingpoems.com/poet/billy-collins/
    …as well as a huge number of other amazing and not-so-amazing videopoems of sundry varieties.

    This poem struck home today as I just returned from visiting a friend and her mother; the mother has senile dementia and is, indeed, slowly losing the story of her own life.

    1. Thank you!

      Last Sunday we had a national fun rising for bettering the situation for people with dementia and their relatives.
      To me it seems really difficult to “loose” a parent this way.

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