The Rain in Portugal --a title that admits he's not much of a rhymer--sheds Collins's ironic light on such subjects as travel and art, cats and dogs, loneliness and love, beauty and death. Read more...
The Rain in Portugal--a title that admits he's not much of a rhymer--sheds Collins's ironic light on such subjects as travel and art, cats and dogs, loneliness and love, beauty and death. His tones range from the whimsical--"the dogs of Minneapolis . . . / have no idea they're in Minneapolis"--to the elegiac in a reaction to the death of Seamus Heaney. A student of the everyday, here Collins contemplates a weather vane, a still life painting, the calendar, and a child lost at a beach. His imaginative fabrications have Shakespeare flying comfortably in first class and Keith Richards supporting the globe on his head. By turns entertaining, engaging, and enlightening, The Rain in Portugal amounts to another chorus of poems from one of the most respected and familiar voices in the world of American poetry.
It's possible that a stitch in time
might save as many as twelve or as few as three,
and I have no trouble remembering
that September has thirty days.
So do June, November, and April.
I like a cat wearing a chapeau or a trilby,
Little Jack Horner sitting on a sofa,
old men who are not from Nantucket,
and how life can seem almost unreal
when you are gently rowing a boat down a stream.
That's why instead of recalling today
that it mostly pours in Spain,
I am going to picture the rain in Portugal,
how it falls on the hillside vineyards,
on the surface of the deep harbors
where fishing boats are swaying,
and in the narrow alleys of the cities
where three boys in tee shirts
are kicking a soccer ball in the rain,
ignoring the window-cries of their mothers.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-11-07
- Reviewer: Staff
Collins (Aimless Love) returns with 60 typically on-brand poems of wandering, observing, and experiencing brief moments of profundity. There are elements of darkness and political awareness (the piece/ on the morning radio about the former asylum/ whose inmates were kept busy/ at wooden benches in a workshop/ making leather collars and wristbands/ that would later be used to restrain them), but mostly theres the Collins his devoted readership knows in poems such as Not So Still Life, wherein With the skull inching toward the pear,/ and the cluster of eggs beginning to wander,/ I had to reassure myself/ that my mother and father were still alive,/ I had a place to stay/ and a couple thousand dollars in a savings account. Collinss allure has always been in short, talky poems that deal with poetrys big subjects: life, death, and poetry (Poetry is too busy thinking about her children/ as she replaces a gold button on the blazer of Pride). Once again Collins delivers, musing about his students, taking a walk around a lake, and reflecting on music history: see Keith standing/ on the shoulders of the other Rolling Stones,/ who are in turn standing on the shoulders of Muddy Waters,/ who, were it not for that endless stack of turtles.../ would find himself standing on nothing at all. (Oct.)