“Flying Over West Texas at Christmas” – Billy Collins
January 5, 2014 Comments Off on “Flying Over West Texas at Christmas” – Billy Collins
Oh, little town far below
with a ruler line of a road running through you,
you anonymous cluster of houses and barns,
miniaturized by this altitude
in a land as parched as Bethlehem
might have been somewhere around the year zero—
a beautiful song should be written about you
which choirs could sing in their lofts
and carolers standing in a semicircle
could carol in front of houses topped with snow.
For surely some admirable person was born
within the waffle-iron grid of your streets,
who then went on to perform some small miracles,
placing a hand on the head of a child
or shaking a cigarette out of the pack for a stranger.
But maybe it is best not to compose a hymn
or chisel into tablets the code of his behavior
or convene a tribunal of men in robes to explain his words.
Let us not press the gold leaf of his name
onto a page of vellum or hang his image from a nail.
Better to fly over this little town with nothing
but the hope that someone visits his grave
once a year, pushing open the low iron gate
then making her way toward him
through the rows of the others
before bending to prop up some flowers before the stone.