These are a few of my favorite things: #12 (Consolation by Billy Collins)

Consolation by Billy Collins

Billy Collins

Billy Collins (Photo credit: marcelo noah)

How agreeable it is not to be touring Italy this summer,
wandering her cities and ascending her torrid hilltowns.
How much better to cruise these local, familiar streets,
fully grasping the meaning of every roadsign and billboard
and all the sudden hand gestures of my compatriots.

There are no abbeys here, no crumbling frescoes or famous
domes and there is no need to memorize a succession
of kings or tour the dripping corners of a dungeon.
No need to stand around a sarcophagus, see Napoleon’s
little bed on Elba, or view the bones of a saint under glass.

How much better to command the simple precinct of home
than be dwarfed by pillar, arch, and basilica.
Why hide my head in phrase books and wrinkled maps?
Why feed scenery into a hungry, one-eyes camera
eager to eat the world one monument at a time?

Instead of slouching in a café ignorant of the word for ice,
I will head down to the coffee shop and the waitress
known as Dot. I will slide into the flow of the morning
paper, all language barriers down,
rivers of idiom running freely, eggs over easy on the way.

And after breakfast, I will not have to find someone
willing to photograph me with my arm around the owner.
I will not puzzle over the bill or record in a journal
what I had to eat and how the sun came in the window.
It is enough to climb back into the car

as if it were the great car of English itself
and sounding my loud vernacular horn, speed off
down a road that will never lead to Rome, not even Bologna.

Though the poet has written the poem humorously & as a means to console himself for not being able to take a vacation in Europe, I see it quite in the literal sense..how much better indeed not to be tiring yourself on holidays to some obscure place doing the usual touristy things, running from one tourist hot spot to another, spending insane amount of time & energy on planning n logistics. Why not relax at home instead & enjoy your own city with new eyes? I know a lot of people who go to distant places for holidays but don’t know their own city intimately…why? Is a place alluring n beautiful only ‘cos it is far off?   Perhaps a part of vacation charm lies in  impressing neighbors n peers with the money you spend on your holidays!! Perhaps it’s a status symbol….perhaps people who are convinced about the benefits of always being busy n of multitasking like to do things on holidays too, bungee-jumping, hiking, rafting, blah blah, this already is looking tiring to me..at least holidays should be reserved for relaxation n just being.. i’m sold on the concept of comforts of home rather than huffing n puffing on holidays.

Home is the Best

Here is Billy Collins reading his poem:

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February 4, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , . My lifestyle, My Values, Poetry, Reflections/Musings, Simplicity, Slacker-Sutras, Slacking, Solitude, Wisdom, You tube.

2 Comments

  1. http://tinyurl.com/hevistack31765 replied:

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