Poetry: Billy Collins, 'Searching'

More

originally published October 2008


Audio: Hear Billy Collins read this poem. (1:23)

 

I recall someone once admitting
that all he remembered of Anna Karenina
was something about a picnic basket,

and now, after consuming a book
devoted to the subject of Barcelona--
its people, its history, its complex architecture--

all I remember is the mention
of an albino gorilla, the inhabitant of a park
where the Citadel of the Bourbons once stood.

The sheer paleness of him looms over
all the notable names and dates
as the evening strollers stop before him


Also by Billy Collins:
Grave (2009)
House (2004)
The Iron Bridge (2001)
Snow Day (2000)
Man Listening to Disc (1999)
Invention (1998)

and point to show their children.
These locals called him Snowflake,
and here he has been mentioned again in print

in the hope of keeping his pallid flame alive
and helping him, despite his name, to endure
in this poem, where he has found another cage.

Oh, Snowflake,
I had no interest in the capital of Catalonia--
its people, its history, its complex architecture--

no, you were the reason
I kept my light on late into the night,
turning all those pages, searching for you everywhere.



Billy Collins's recent books of poems include Ballistics (2008), The Trouble with Poetry (2005), and Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (2001). He is also the editor of Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems about Birds, with paintings by David Allen Sibley (2009). He served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 2001 to 2003.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Billy Collins's new collection, Horoscopes for the Dead, will be published early next year. He served as the U.S. poet laureate from 2001 to 2003.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Remote Warehouse Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Video

The Origins of Bungee Jumping

"We had this old potato sack and I filled it up with rocks and dropped it over the side. It just hit the water, split, dropping all the stones. And that was our test."

Video

Is Trading Stocks for Suckers?

If you think you’re smarter than the stock market, you’re probably either cheating or wrong

Video

I Spent Half My Life Making a Video Game

How a childhood hobby became a labor of love

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

Just In