Reluctantly Refuting a Billy Collins Poem

In the supermarket, seeking to undomesticate
myself from the poem but failing terribly,
I hear Iva Davies, lead singer of Icehouse,
pining loudly to the tune of 'Crazy',

you know, 'Well, you've gotta be crazy, baby,
to fall in love with me
,' etc. etc., a tune I wouldn't
normally have thought much of, except that I
was just reading a poem I like by Billy Collins

and, in it, Billy was saying that (in love songs):
'There seems to be little room for variations.'
Usually the song goes, 'You're so beautiful
and I am a fool to be in love with you...'

But 'I have never heard anyone sing
I am so beautiful, and you are a fool to
be in love with me.' And I thought, yeah,
right on, Billy, and so it hit me like that.

But, just a few hours later, here among
the sweet peas and Magnums, I realise
his words are now heading for
the clappers. It seems wherever you go

these days there are constant reminders that
all your best truths and maxims, those ones
you'll swear by, your own and others, no
matter how witty and thoughtfully put,

are walking, inching along a tightrope, and
one day, without warning, they'll vanish, go
belly up, no longer believed, no longer brilliant -
and, like you, no longer part of this world.

Poem © Mark Pirie, 2001