desertification in the midwest




This is what my yard looks like — completely brown (likely dead) grass covered with leaves from damaged, dying and dead trees — predominantly post oaks (Quercus stellata), one of the toughest trees on the planet. It makes me really sad to see these trees I grew up playing under dying before my eyes. I know, of course, that they aren’t immortal, but I sure expected them to be around a lot longer than me.

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Forgetfulness — a poem by Billy Collins


Lone Goose Island, or Wild Goose Island, or Goose Island (I don’t remember which one it is); GNP 2011



Forgetfulness

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,
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