18 Jan
Posted in: Poems
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And This Was Called History

(Note: I wasn’t able to post yesterday because I was overcome by a particularly noxious bout of food poisoning. Ah, but now that has passed. Sometimes impermanence is your friend!)

For today, I offer:

The Future
by Billy Collins

When I finally arrive there–
and it will take many days and nights–
I would like to believe others will be waiting
and might even want to know how it was.

So I will reminisce about a particular sky
or a woman in a white bathrobe
or the time I visited a narrow strait
where a famous naval battle had taken place.

Then I will spread out on a table
a large map of my world
and explain to the people of the future
in their pale garments what it was like–

how mountains rose between the valleys
and this was called geography,
how boats loaded with cargo plied the rivers
and this was known as commerce,

how the people from this pink area
crossed over into this light-green area
and set fires and killed whoever they found
and this was called history–

and they will listen, mild-eyed and silent,
as  more of them arrive to join the circle,
like ripples moving toward,
not away from, a stone tossed into a pond.

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