A Quick, Nervous Bird

Billy Collins is one of my favorite living poets, mostly because he’s so, so funny. I don’t want to reduce his insightful, smart writing to just humor, but I think it’s great that he gets the joke of being a poet. There’s so much handwringing and black beret-wearing in the realm of Serious Literature, so I find it really refreshing.

ANYWAY, in honor of yet another day of National Poetry Month, I bring you A Paradelle for Susan. The paradelle is allegedly a formal poem from medieval France, similar to a villanelle, though actually, it was just a poem that Collins invented to make fun of excessively formal writing exercises. The best part? The writing establishment believed him and started writing their own paradelles. Please enjoy!

 

Paradelle for Susan

by Billy Collins 

I remember the quick, nervous bird of your love.
I remember the quick, nervous bird of your love.
Always perched on the thinnest, highest branch.
Always perched on the thinnest, highest branch.
Thinnest love, remember the quick branch.
Always nervous, I perched on your highest bird the.

It is time for me to cross the mountain.
It is time for me to cross the mountain.
And find another shore to darken with my pain.
And find another shore to darken with my pain.
Another pain for me to darken the mountain.
And find the time, cross my shore, to with it is to.

The weather warm, the handwriting familiar.
The weather warm, the handwriting familiar.
Your letter flies from my hand into the waters below.
Your letter flies from my hand into the waters below.
The familiar waters below my warm hand.
Into handwriting your weather flies you letter the from the.

I always cross the highest letter, the thinnest bird.
Below the waters of my warm familiar pain,
Another hand to remember your handwriting.
The weather perched for me on the shore.
Quick, your nervous branch flew from love.
Darken the mountain, time and find was my into it was with to to.

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