I thought of you today, Billy Collins,
in the subway changing trains
at the center of eight million poems
turning and turning
like a tourist bewildered
under the clock inside the palace
at the still point of an analog world
in a digital century going fast
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Effects of Analogy*
Poetry is almost incredibly one of the effects of analogy. — Wallace Stevens
Poetry is to jazz
as literature is to music
as Lake Como is to the Arno River
as Matisse is to Kandinsky.
Bop is to analytical cubism
as John Coltrane is to Malcolm X
as Dante is to Virgil
as a tank is to a wooden horse.
Roy Eldridge is to the trumpet
as Dizzy Gillespie is to Roy Eldridge
or as Virgil is to Homer
or as birds are to ornithology.
Every image is to any of its attributes
as the city of Marseilles is to the whole of France
as Patrick Ewing is to the Knicks
or as Rodin’s statue of Balzac is to the author of Lost Illusions.
Death is to the maiden
as a violent revolution is to a theory of mass psychology,
or as golf is to bowling
as burgundy is to beer.
April in Paris with you is to Autumn in New York
as Earth is to Venus
as Eros is to Aphrodite
as the city at night is to the city by day.
*Published in The Paris Review in 1996 but considerably revised here, “Effects of Analogy” it will appear in David Lehman’s New and Selected Poems from Scribner in November 2013.