Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Who Needs a Smartphone?

REMIND-O-METER, seen in a thrift shop on Whidbey Island. 


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
or 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

Click here to hear Billy Collins read this poem.

"Forgetfulness by Billy Collins : Poetry Magazine [poem/magazine]." Poetry Foundation

“Forgetfulness” from Questions About Angels.
Copyright © 1999 by Billy Collins.
Reprinted with the permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.


CC said...

As I always say, nothing really changes except the costumes and technology....and even those are only recent updates and reworkings.

Love it!

EG CameraGirl said...

Isn't that a fabulous poem?! Thanks for sharing it!

Pretty Zesty said...

Wow, I love it! Thanks for sharing.

ps I have another giveaway!

Marilyn Miller said...

Great poem! You didn't buy the Remind-O-Meter? Why ever not? Cute~

Kala said...

That is fantastic. Thanks for posting.

Unknown said...

I love Billy Collins! And I love this poem...hadn't read it before...or maybe I forgot I did. :)

Remind-O-Meter! That cracks me up! LOL

Vagabonde said...

I really enjoyed this poem - and I also liked your picture of the Remind-O-Meter – I had never seen one before.

Ruth said...

Laughing at Susie.

I can hear him reading this poem, which is such a treat, in his deadpan simplicity. What a treasure he is.

The Remind-o-meter looks awfully complicated, and I think I am not smart enough to decipher it. ;-)

Lisa Gordon said...

Beautiful poem, and I LOVE the Remind-O-Meter!!

Lisa Gordon said...

Beautiful poem, and I LOVE the Remind-O-Meter!!

rochambeau said...

Hello Dutchbaby! Thank you for finding that hilarious Remind~O~Meter and taking a photograph! FUnny!!

No one puts it better than Billy Collins! He's my hero! Did you ever read his poem about the lanyard? It makes me cry it's so funny. He's with out a doubt on the list for my imaginary dinner!

Thanks again for your words!


Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Wow, this really hits home! What a marvelous poem, and....so true!

Reader Wil said...

Dat gedicht kon wel voor mij geschreven zijn. Ik repeteer ook allerlei rijtjes:de planeten, de hoofdsteden van bepaalde landen waar ik geweest ben of die van Europa, de titels van boeken etc... Ik vergeet namen van dingen en sta 's nachts op om ze op te zoeken. Fantastisch hoe iemand in een gedicht dit zo kan beschrijven. bedankt voor je bezoek en ik ben het helemaal met je eens, dat de muziek hier heel verdrietig klonk. Fijne zondag.

London Caller said...

This Remind-o-meter is far too complex for me to remember stuff... ;)

What a lovely poem!

Ginnie said...

Please remind me why you were writing this post, DB! HA!

Actually, this is a poem I need to print out and keep handy for my perusal in the days and years to come. I do pray Alzheimer's doesn't hit me, like it did Mom, but just in case, I need words to read that will somehow keep me connected to reality, whatever it may be then.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear CC,
Sometimes I long for the simpler, more manual machines.

As for fashion, I sure see a lot of clothes lately that resemble those I wore in high school.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear EG Wow!
Yes it is! Thanks for dropping by!

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Kris,
You are waaay to young to even begin to relate to this poem.

Thanks for the foodie tip!

Relyn Lawson said...

Oh, Billy. My favorite of all favorite poets. Did I ever tell you about hearing him at a reading? It was incredible. We met him and chatted for a bit. I was just a little star struck, let me tell you.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Marilyn,
Several reasons: no room in my suitcase and I didn't want to check any bags. Since my hosts were already shipping several boxes of goodies for me, I didn't want to impose any more. I'm in disposal mode, rather than accumulating mode. I am happy to have the image to share here.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Kala,
Thanks for your visit. I'm glad you enjoyed our walk.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Susan,
You are so funny! Maybe I should have bought the REMIND-O-METER because it would be such a great conversation piece.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Vagabonde,
That Remind-O-Meter is unique, isn't it?

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Ruth,
Thanks for prompting me to add the link to Billy Collins' reading of this poem.

I'm with you on the Remind-O-Meter. I'm sure, by the time I figured out how to work it, I have forgotten what I need to remember.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Lisa,
Thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to leave a note.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Constance,
Yes, I know that lanyard poem. It is hysterical. I'm going to share it with my daughter. She is once again a camp counselor this summer.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Sara at Come Away With Me,
This poem hits at home with me too.

Dutchbaby said...

Beste Reader Wil,
Hartelijk bedankt voor je grappige reactie. Een van mijn grootste angsten is om mijn geheugen te verliezen. Als je kan zien, ik heb veel van de Nederlandse taal verloren. Het is nu al 35 jaren geleden toen we hier in Amerika kwamen. Ik was slechts elf jaar oud.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear London Caller,
It is machines like this that make me appreciate modern technology.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Ginnie,

I do share the same fear as you. I think my father was also afflicted but his heart gave out before the disease took hold.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Relyn,
Lucky you! I would be starstruck too. Here's a link to a half hour of Billy:


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