I don’t think this next poem
needs any introduction –
it’s best to let the work speak for itself
Maybe I should just mention
that whenever I use the word five,
I’m referring to that group of Russian composers
Who came to be known as “The Five,”
Balakirev, Moussorgsky, Borodin – that crowd.
Oh – and Hypsicles was a Greek astronomer.
He did something with the circle.
That’s about it, but for the record,
“Grimke” is Angelina Emily Grimke, the abolitionist.
“Imroz” is that little island near the Dardanelles.
“Monad” – well, you all know what monad is.
There could be a little problem
with mastaba, which is one of those Egyptian
above-ground sepulchers, sort of brick and limestone.
And you’re all familiar with helminthology?
It’s the science of worms.
Oh, and you will recall that Phoebe Mozee
is the real name of Annie Oakley.
Other than that, everything should be obvious.
Wagga Wagga is in New South Wales.
Rhyolite is that soft volcanic rock.
Yes, meranti is a type of timber, in tropical Asia I think,
and Rahway is just Rahway, New Jersey.
The rest of the poem should be clear.
I’ll just read it and let it speak for itself.
It’s about the time I went picking wild strawberries.
It’s called “Picking Wild Strawberries.”
- Billy Collins