294th Virtual Poetry Circle

Welcome to the 294th Virtual Poetry Circle!

Remember, this is just for fun and is not meant to be stressful.

Keep in mind what Molly Peacock’s book suggested.

Look at a line, a stanza, sentences, and images; describe what you like or don’t like; and offer an opinion. If you missed my review of her book, check it out here.

Today’s poem is from Billy Collins, recited by Jackson Hille:


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
or 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.

What do you think?


  1. Anna (Diary of an Eccentric) says

    Beautiful but sad poem. If you truly feel like you are losing too many things (I assume you don’t mean physical objects), you’re probably stressed but should get it checked out!

  2. It’s hard not to love a Billy Collins poem.
    This one hits pretty close to home these days. I walk through a doorway and immediately forget what I was after (I’ve read that doorways have this effect, which is oddly reassuring).
    I love the optimism of rising in the middle of the night to look something up, even though you know it will take the place of something else that will then no longer be anywhere near the tip of your tongue.

    • I loved this; but the forgetfulness is a scary thing. I’ve given a lot of thought to this lately. My husband has a much better memory than I do, and I feel like I am losing too many things, but maybe that is all the multitasking I do.