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    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 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.

    —Billy Collins

    Vanita, Nachosan, dearoot, and 130 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 12 more comments

    1. Squish_E ages ago | reply

      fab! I really like this entire set.

    2. Reflected_Light 112 months ago | reply

      Oh my. The photo drew me in (gorgeous) and the poem stole my heart. Thank you.

    3. sakizkiz 110 months ago | reply

      love the image. too buzzed not to read the text

    4. originalmulli (naomi) 110 months ago | reply

      Love the poem and LOVE the image. I had to go through the comments to realise how they go together though! Genius!

    5. Shilashon 110 months ago | reply

      this is so great!!!

    6. mRio 106 months ago | reply

      thank you for reminding me.....wonderful poem and photo

    7. the sentimentalist 106 months ago | reply

      this looks like a familiar bookcover
      i think, time travellers wife?
      great picture though.

    8. pinoyphotog 98 months ago | reply

      This is an invitation to anyone who has ever felt the angst of lost love, the joy of rebirth and the myriad emotions evoked by photographs.

      Share your favorite verses, as interpreted by your images, with us at Poems&Photographs

    9. KDPfotos 98 months ago | reply

      This is a wonderful picture!

    10. nss.waga 97 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Creative Captions, and we'd love to have your photo added to the group.

    11. tripod gone 97 months ago | reply

      this will be one of the pictures i will remember!

    12. SerialCoder 93 months ago | reply

      This image has been added to the Flickr Museum for making explore's top 25. Kudos! You can check it out HERE...

    13. amaniacadored 70 months ago | reply

      Love Billy Collins, and this shot.

    14. Anemone Jones 61 months ago | reply

      How did you collect so many wonderful poems?! I am always on the search for a really good one, but it seems so rare that I find it on my own.

    15. convertible mustang 59 months ago | reply

      Ditto to what Rongzoni says.

    16. jemmza 45 months ago | reply

      Oh billy collins, i love him. and this poem. and this picture!

    17. CourtneyPoullas 36 months ago | reply

      I just joined and thought about how a lot of these photos speak. Perfect example.

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