PRATIE PLACE

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Plight of the Troubador (Billy Collins)

Another poem by Zed's favorite poet, Billy Collins.

Plight of the Troubador

For a good hour I have been singing lays
in langue d'oc to a woman who knows
only langue d'oïl, an odd Picard dialect
at that.

The European love lyric is flourishing
with every tremor of my voice,
yet a friend has had to tap my shoulder
to tell me she has not caught a word.

My sentiments are tangled like kites
in the branches of her incomprehension,
and soon I will be lost in an anthology
and poets will no longer wear hats like mine.

Provence will be nothing more
than a pink hue on a map or an answer on a test.
And still the woman smiles at me
feigning this look of sisterly understanding.


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