IAM Encounter: Billy Collins on subdivisions
9 March 2009 1 Comment
United States Poet Laureate Billy Collins read a number of his works during a plenary at the IAM Encounter 2009 gathering. I was already familiar with some of his work, though couldn’t have told you that without hearing specific poems.
His reading was fantastic, a very somber and almost monotone voice conveying common yet humorous observations. “A lot of poetry is born out of irritation,” he said.
One of his poems, The Golden Years, reminded me of a personal irritation I wrote about way back in 2006 in a post titled How to name a subdivision. In that entry I ask why subdivisions seem to be so randomly named after natural phenomena that bear no relevance to that particular location. Billy Collins asks the same question.
The Golden Years
All I do these drawn-out days
is sit in my kitchen at Pheasant Ridge
where there are no pheasant to be seen
and last time I looked, no ridge.
I could drive over to Quail Falls
and spend the day there playing bridge,
but the lack of a falls and the absence of quail
would just remind me of Pheasant Ridge.
I know a widow at Fox Run
and another with a condo at Smokey Ledge.
One of them smokes, and neither can run,
so I’ll stick to the pledge I made to Midge.
Who frightened the fox and bulldozed the ledge?
I ask in my kitchen at Pheasant Ridge.