by Billy Collins

It is too late in the day
to make up a fable about a princess
and a toad with a jewel in its forehead,

and the time has passed for concocting
a saga with warriors sweeping across the tundra
and the lone hero balancing on an ice floe.

The windows of the sonnet are painted shut,
and the last sailor has drowned
in the last line of the final ballad.

But there is still time to speak to the heart
as it goes into battle again
with no weapon, defeated every time,

brought to its knees by each season,
knocked out by a bird in a cage,
or a girl on the floor lost in a drawing.

Even in this painted room
with and autumn evening setting in,
it succumbed again- this time,

to what happens to lie on the kitchen table:
an orange, an unlit candle,
and the times of a movie re-traced in pencil.

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