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Dear Reader Analysis

Author: poem of Billy Collins Type: poem Views: 11

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Baudelaire considers you his brother,

and Fielding calls out to you every few paragraphs

as if to make sure you have not closed the book,

and now I am summoning you up again,

attentive ghost, dark silent figure standing

in the doorway of these words.

Pope welcomes you into the glow of his study,

takes down a leather-bound Ovid to show you.

Tennyson lifts the latch to a moated garden,

and with Yeats you lean against a broken pear tree,

the day hooded by low clouds.

But now you are here with me,

composed in the open field of this page,

no room or manicured garden to enclose us,

no Zeitgeist marching in the background,

no heavy ethos thrown over us like a cloak.

Instead, our meeting is so brief and accidental,

unnoticed by the monocled eye of History,

you could be the man I held the door for

this morning at the bank or post office

or the one who wrapped my speckled fish.

You could be someone I passed on the street

or the face behind the wheel of an oncoming car.

The sunlight flashes off your windshield,

and when I look up into the small, posted mirror,

I watch you diminish—my echo, my twin—

and vanish around a curve in this whip

of a road we can't help traveling together.


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