April 9 Poetry: Billy Collins "Hell"

What makes Billy Collins a great poet to me is that he can make it funny, real, and meaningful all at the same hand.

Since I love a little bit of theology that is funny and real I thought something remotely theological might be fun too. 

Thank you Billy Collins for your poetry...I think it actually makes the world a better place.


I have a feeling that it is much worse
than shopping for a mattress at a mall,

of greater duration without question,
and there is no random pitchforking here,
no licking flames to fear,
only this cavernous store with its maze of bedding.

Yet wadinerg past the jovial kinds,
 the more sesible queens,
and the cheerless singles
no scarlet sheet will ever cover,

I am thinking of a passage frome the Inerno,
which I could fully bring to mind
and recite in English or even Italian

if the salesman who has been following us--
a crumpled pack of Newports
visible in the pocket of his short sleeve shirt--
would stop insisting for a moment
 that we test this one, then this softer one,

which we do by lying down side by side,
arms rigid, figures on a tomb,
powerless to imagine what it would be to like

to sleep or love this way
under the punishing rows of fluorescent lights,
which Dante might have included
had he been able to lie on his back between us here today.

Collins, Billy Horoscopes for the Dead, Random House, New York, 2011. 30.


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