Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Billy Collins Captures the Way It Is in Some Days

Photo by Daniil Silantev on Unsplash
Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins writes in a folksy contemporary style that has endeared him to many a fan. His poem Some Days is typical of the light touch he uses to amuse us while providing a morsel to chew on afterwards.

In between this intro and the poem I thought I would throw in a couple unrelated items for you to think about. The first is an article I read on Medium titled, The Deepest Hole in the World. I don't care much for publications with limits but I suppose they're there for a reason. Medium is free of advertising so they need rely on other methods of rewarding their contributors.

The second is this little item that surprised me, found on the CDC website. If you came of age in the Sixties, do you recall a flu pandemic that killed a million people? Probably not, because we were distracted by a Vietnam War, riots in the streets and assassinations (MLK and Bobby).

According to the CDC the estimated number of deaths was 1 million worldwide and about 100,000 in the United States. Most excess deaths were in people 65 years and older. It also states that the H3N2 virus continues to circulate worldwide as a seasonal influenza A virus. Seasonal H3N2 viruses, which are associated with severe illness in older people, undergo regular antigenic drift. There is not a lot of detail but you can read about it here and find links to other past pandemics.
See: 1968 Pandemic (H3N2 virus)

* * * *
And now, Some Days by Billy Collins.

Some Days
Some days I put the people in their places at the table,
bend their legs at the knees,
if they come with that feature,
and fix them into the tiny wooden chairs.

All afternoon they face one another,
the man in the brown suit,
the woman in the blue dress,
perfectly motionless, perfectly behaved.

But other days, I am the one
who is lifted up by the ribs,
then lowered into the dining room of a dollhouse
to sit with the others at the long table.

Very funny,
but how would you like it
if you never knew from one day to the next
if you were going to spend it

striding around like a vivid god,
your shoulders in the clouds,
or sitting down there amidst the wallpaper,
staring straight ahead with your little plastic face?

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