By Billy Collins
During this relocating and playful assortment, Billy Collins touches on an array of subjects--love, dying, solitude, adolescence, and aging--delving deeper than ever sooner than into the difficult folds of lifestyles.
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Extra info for Ballistics
Also, there is the nightmare touch of a web being made of living beings. “A web of men”: a web of men who are dying and killing each other. ” He is speaking of a traveler who comes to a “bárbara aldea”—to a “barbarous village”; and then that village weaves a rope of dogs around him. THE METAPHOR 38 Como suele tejer Bárbara aldea Soga de perros Contra forastero. So, strangely enough, we have the same image: the idea of a rope or web made of living beings. Yet even in those cases that seem to be synonyms, there is quite a difference.
This would amount to the statement that among the “ten thousand things” of the Chinese de~nition, only some twelve essential af~nities may be found. Because, of course, you can ~nd other af~nities that are merely astonishing, and astonishment hardly lasts more than a moment. I remember that I have forgotten quite a good example of the dream-and-life equation. But I think I can recall it now: it is by the American poet Cummings. THE METAPHOR 33 There are four lines. I must apologize for the ~rst.
I don’t remember whether in my last lecture (because this is a sentence I often quote over and over again, and have quoted all through my life) I gave you the quotation from the Chinese philosopher Chuan Tzu. He dreamt that he was a butter_y, and, on waking up, he did not know whether he was a man who had had a dream he was a butter_y, or a butter_y who was now dreaming he was a man. This metaphor is, I think, the ~nest of all. First because it begins with a dream, so afterwards, when he awakens, his life has still something dreamlike about it.
Ballistics by Billy Collins