Lately, I seem to be constantly facing issues of time: time management, timing, time for family, time for schoolwork, time for writing. That last is one of the biggest; I think that like doctors, we should describe authors as practicing the art of writing. We’ll never get any better if we don’t keep doing it (Not that we don’t need to read a lot as well). In fact, it’s impossible to produce a work of literature without the act of writing. I digress. In “I Go Back to the House for a Book,” Billy Collins provides an effect that although not narrative per se (although certainly narrative in portions), or in emphasis, nevertheless captures more than a single image. It captures a timeline, and through that timeline, a feeling, almost an aura. Collins captures this timeline in several ways, the most traditional being through narrative. However, especially in his second and third stanzas, he maintains a sense of time and timeliness without continuing the narrative form. More important than the flow of the narrative is the use of time-oriented words, such as sometimes, before, slow, synch, before, blazing, follow, etc. These words remind us as we go through that the snippets of scene that we are seeing are not contiguous, that they are separated in time, and indeed, that seems to be the theme of the poem. The separations of events in time, the impact of time on choice, and the effects of time on emotion and memory. So, my challenge? Write a poem with NO narrative that nevertheless captures a sequence of events, to use time words to make clear that events are separated by time, while juxtaposing them on one another to emphasize a contrast or comparison.

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