Mar 10, 2014

hymn to the banal

Billy Collins

I have come back to the couch—
hands behind my head,
legs crossed at the ankles—

To resume my lifelong study
of the ceiling and its river-like crack,
its memory of a water stain,

The touch of civilization
in the rounded steps of the molding,
and the lick of time in the flaking plaster.

To move would only ruffle
the calm surface of the morning,
and disturb shadows of leaves in the windows.

And to throw open a door
would startle the fish in the pond,
maybe frighten a few birds from a hedge.

Better to stay here,
to occupy the still room of thought,
to listen to the dog breathing on the floor,

better to count my lucky coins,
or redesign my family coat of arms—
remove the plow and hive, shoo away the bee.

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