Friday, December 23, 2016


I never put any stock in that image of the earth
resting on the backs of four elephants
who are standing on a giant sea turtle,
who is in turn supported by an infinite regression
of turtles disappearing into a bottomless forever.
I mean who in their right mind would?

But now that we are on the subject,
my substitute picture would have the earth
with its entire population of people and things
resting on the head of Keith Richards,
who is holding a Marlboro in one hand
and a bottle of Jack Daniel's in the other.

As long as Keith keeps talking about
the influence of the blues on the Rolling Stones,
the earth will continue to spin merrily
and revolve in a timely manner around the sun.
But if he changes the subject  or even pauses
too long, its pretty much curtains for us all.

Unless, of course, one person somehow survives
being hurled into the frigidity of outer space,
then we would have a movie on our hands -
but wait, there wouldn't be any hands
to write the script or make the movie.
and no theatres either, no buttered popcorn, no giant Pepsi.

So we may as well 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,
one on top of the other all the way down,
would find himself standing on nothing at all.

-Billy Collins, Cosmology, as published in The Rain In Portugal

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