I’ll confess I don’t read much poetry.
I’m far more likely to recommend Australian non-fiction
or the latest John Sandford thriller, like Buried Prey.
But then I saw Billy Collins on a talk show,
reading from Aimless Love,
and fell for his great playfulness and depth.
Still, it took me two years to buy the book—
so much lost time! What a waste.
Collins reflects the world I know back to me,
its solemnity and humour, the inescapable crush of history,
framing it with remarkable precision:
‘But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.’
I can’t help taking the book to bed,
to sleep with under my pillow
or snuggled against my chest, like a stuffed bear.
And now I’m doomed to spend the rest of my life
asking strangers, ‘But have you read Billy Collins?’
and stuffing handwritten copies of his poems in their pockets.
First published by NSW Writers’ Centre