The Poetry of Billy Collins: For Bartleby the Scrivener

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For Bartleby The Scrivener

“Every time we get a big gale around here
some people just refuse to batten down.”

we estimate that

ice skating into a sixty
mile an hour wind, fully exerting
the legs and swinging arms

you will be pushed backward
an inch every twenty minutes.

in a few days, depending on
the size of the lake,
the backs of your skates
will touch land.

you will then fall on your ass
and be blown into the forest.

if you gather enough speed
by flapping your arms
and keeping your skates pointed

you will catch up to other
flying people who refused to batten down.
you will exchange knowing waves
as you ride the great wind north.

Billy Collins

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