Some years ago, I had a poem by Billy Collins that I cut out of the New Yorker taped to the wall of my studio.
It’s called Earth.
The sun is clear and torchlike
on this cool October morning,
all I am aware of is the sensation
of its steady heat on my upturned face.
I am not thinking of how late the train is
that I am here to meet,
here with nothing to read, not even
the morning paper or a story by O. Henry.
The unfiltered bun of the autumn sun
on my skin is all I know,
that and a bubble of curiosity
about whether you could re-create this feeling in hell
if you managed to position yourself
just the right distance from the roaring
bank of furnaces where the sounds
of shoveling and howling are coming from.
But no, the damn world will be jostling
and pushing closer to some fiery maw,
and in heaven the light would be
too hallowed, too theatrical to warm our faces.
And there would be no place for the train station
or the little cafe across the street,
or no place in hell of the sunny table,
the bitter coffee, or the woman walking her dog.
Only the glare — I am imagining
with my eyes closed behind my sunglasses —
the glare, some low chanting,
and the milling of some vast, incorporeal gang.
It recently came across my path again, and I still love the poem…..