Passengers

In January and February I’m going to be traveling a lot. A friend of mine passed me a poem which I thought was appropriate.

At the gate, I sit in a row of blue seats
with the possible company of my death,
this sprawling miscellany of people –
carry-on bags and paperbacks –

that could be gathered in a flash
into a band of pilgrims on the last open road.
Not that I think
if our plane crumpled into a mountain

we would all ascend together,
holding hands like a ring of sky divers,
into a sudden gasp of brightness,
or that there would be some common spot

for us to reunite to jubilize the moment,
some spaceless, pillarless Greece
where we could, at the count of three,
toss our ashes into the sunny air.

It’s just that the way that man has his briefcase
so carefully arranged,
the way that girl is cooling her tea,
and the flow of the comb that woman

passes through her daughter’s hair…
and when you consider the altitude,
the secret parts of the engines,
and all the hard water and the deep canyons below…

well, I just think it would be good if one of us
maybe stood up and said a few words,
or, so as not to involve the police,
at least quietly wrote something down.

“Passengers” by Billy Collins

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Shook Wai on January 4, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    It’s funny (and freaky) how I came across this when I was supposed to be googling for something else… Love the poem, for I’ve always wondered if I will survive the flight (especially at times when I travel alone) or will the passengers be the same people who will share my death anniversary…
    So enjoy life and live everyday like it’s your last… It’s cliched but funny how I have to remind myself all the time.

    Reply

  2. Posted by tessa on January 6, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    plaintive and plainly written, and i love it!

    Reply

  3. When do you hit Seattle?

    Also: heads up to keep your eye out for practical jokers at the airport sneaking BOMBS into your luggage!
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/01/06/world/main6062836.shtml

    Reply

  4. Bon Voyage to You!

    Reply

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