Archive for the ‘Billy Collins’ Tag

Morning   Leave a comment

Lake Woodlands Sunrise (1990) Image by kenne

Morning

Why do we bother with the rest of the day,
the swale of the afternoon,
the sudden dip into evening,

then  night with his notorious perfumes,
many-pointed stars?

This is the best—
throwing off the light covers,
feet on the cold floor,
and buzzing around the house on expresso—

maybe a slash of water on the face.

— from Morning by Billy Collins

Cat and Bird   1 comment

Cat and Bird by Paul Klee moma.org 

Predator

It takes only a minute
to bury a wren.
Two trowels full of dirt
and he’s in.

The cat as the threshold
sits longer in doubt
deciding whether
to stay in or go out.

— Billy Collins

Birds, Banana, Joy, and Buddy Guy   1 comment

Joy — Image by kenne

Ode To Joy

Friedrich Schiller called Joy the spark of divinity
but she visits me on a regular basis,
and it doesn’t take much for her to appear—
the salt next to the pepper by the stove,
the garbage man ascending his station
on the back of the moving garbage truck,
or I’m just eating a banana
in the car and listening to Buddy Guy.

In other words, she seems down-to-earth,
like a girl getting off a bus with a suitcase
and no one’s there to meet her.
It’s a little after four in the afternoon,
one of the first warm days of spring.
She sits on her suitcase to wait
and slides on her sunglasses.
How do I know she’s listening to the birds?

— Billy Collins (In The Atlantic, November 2021)

Empty Pot, Empty Bottle — And In Conclusion   Leave a comment

“Empty Pot, Empty Bottle” — Dos XX Amber Still Life by kenne

A Word About Transitions

Moreover is not a good way to start a poem             
though many begin somewhere in the middle.

Secondly does not belong
at the opening of your second stanza.                        

Furthermore is to be avoided
no matter how long the poem.

Aforementioned is rarely found                                     
in poems at all, and for good reason.                          

Most steer clear of notwithstanding,
and the same goes for

nevertheless, however,
as a consequence, in any event
,

subsequently,
and as we have seen in the previous chapters.         

The appearance of finally                                                    
in your final stanza will be of no help.                         

All of which suggests (another no-no)
that poems don’t need to tell us where we are

or what is soon to come.                                                   
For example, the white bowl of lemons                      

on a table by a window
can go anywhere all by itself

and, in conclusion, so can
seven elephants standing in the rain.

— Billy Collins

Texas Crescent Butterfly   Leave a comment

Texas Crescent Butterfly — Image by kenne

I like writing about where I am,
where I happen to be sitting,
the humidity or the clouds,
the scene outside the window—
a pink tree in bloom,
a neighbor walking his small, nervous dog.
And if I am drinking
a cup of tea at the time
or a small glass of whiskey,
I will find a line to put it on.

— from In the Room of a Thousand Miles by Billy Collins

Zion Canyon Panorama   Leave a comment

Canyon Views Panorama (1 of 1)-B&W-72

Zion Canyon Panorama — B&W Image by kenne

Mighty and dreadful are your tall columns here,

(through soul and love put you in deep shade)

for you outnumber man and outscore even life itself,

and you are roughly tied with God and, strangely, eyes.

— from Unholy Sonnet # 1 by Billy Collins

Today — Bee On Desert Marigold   4 comments

Desert Marigold blogBee On Desert Marigold — Image by kenne

Today

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that in made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,
indeed, rip the little door from the jamb,

a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden sprouting tulips

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.

— Billy Collins

Billy Collins At The Tucson Festival Of Books, 2018   Leave a comment

One of my favorite living poets is Billy Collins, and no less than the Wall Street Journal has called him “America’s Favorite Poet.” If you were to do a search on this blog, you would find five references to Billy Collins.

This year’s festival is the 10th, and as usual, the two-day event was loaded with many great writers, and when it comes to poets, Collins is worthy of “rock-star” status. Let there were two poets I regret not being able to see and visit with: Sarah Cortez who has been a frequent reader at the annual Walt Whitman and Emily Dickenson birthday celebrations part of the Montgomery County Literary Arts Council “Writers In Performance Series” (One of the blogs I manage but have not updated since leaving Texas in 2010, is Writers In Performance); Juan Felipe Herrera a poet, performance artist and activist. Herrera is the son of migrant farm workers and was the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2015–2017. 

There is so much to do and see at this annual festival, which means there is so much to miss.

— kenne

Billy Collins blogBilly Collins at the Tucson Festival of Books, 2018 — Image by kenne

Billie Collins blogImage by Joy

 

Video — Billy Collins reading about goats fainting at the Tucson Festival of Books (March 10, 2018)

— Video by kenne

Balboa Park Rose Garden   1 comment

 

Balboa Park Rose Garden — Images by kenne
(Click on any of the images for larger view in a slideshow format.)

I am a lake, my poem is an empty boat,
and my life is the breeze that blows
through the whole scene

stirring everything it touches —
the surface of the water, the limp sail,
even the heavy, leafy trees along the shore.

— from “My Life” by Billy Collins

 

Dragonfly Grange ‘n’   3 comments

Dragonfly_DSC8503 grunge art blogDragonfly Grange ‘n’ — Image by kenne

This is my envoy to nothing
where I say Go, little poem — 
not out into the world of stranger’s eyes,
but off to some airy limbo,

home to lost epics,
unremembered names,
and fugitive dreams
such as the one I had last night,

which, like a fantastic city in pencil,
erased itself
in the bright morning air
just as I was waking up.

— from “Lines Lost Among Trees” by Billy Collins

A Gift for My Mother   1 comment

motherchristmaslucus03-12-21-31-blog-ii framedMy mother, Agnes — Image by kenne

As we near Mother’s Day, 2015, much will be written, gifts given and loved shared. Remembering Mother is truly a daily exercise in life. Over the last ten years, this blog has had many postings on mothers. One of my favorite poems about mothers is one by Billy Collins, titled, “The Lanyard.”

THE LANYARD

The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room
bouncing from typewriter to piano
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the “L” section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word, Lanyard. 
No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one more suddenly into the past.
A past where I sat at a workbench
at a camp by a deep Adirondack lake 
learning how to braid thin plastic strips into a lanyard. 
A gift for my mother.
I had never seen anyone use a lanyard. 
Or wear one, if that’s what you did with them. 
But that did not keep me from crossing strand over strand 
again and again until I had made a boxy, red and white lanyard for my mother. 
She gave me life and milk from her breasts, 
and I gave her a lanyard 
She nursed me in many a sick room, 
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips, 
set cold facecloths on my forehead
then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim and I in turn presented her with a lanyard. 
“Here are thousands of meals” she said, 
“and here is clothing and a good education.” 
“And here is your lanyard,” I replied,
“which I made with a little help from a counselor.” 
“Here is a breathing body and a beating heart, 
strong legs, bones and teeth and two clear eyes to read the world.” she whispered.
“And here,” I said, “is the lanyard I made at camp.”
“And here,” I wish to say to her now, 
“is a smaller gift. Not the archaic truth, 
that you can never repay your mother, 
but the rueful admission that when she took the two-toned lanyard from my hands,
I was as sure as a boy could be 
that this useless worthless thing I wove out of boredom 
would be enough to make us even.”

— Billy Collins

The Hikers — “It Is Time For Me To Cross The Mountain”   2 comments

Milagrosa Loop (1 of 1)-29_art blogThe Hikers — Canvas Image by kenne

It is time for me to cross the mountain. 

It is time for me to cross the mountain. 

And find another shore to darken with my pain.

And find another shore to darken with my pain.

Another pain for me to darken the mountain.

And find the time, cross my shore, to with it is be.

— from “Paradelle for Susan” by Billy Collins

Looking For Sun On A Rainy Desert Day   Leave a comment

Bernhardt Winery Ezra Charles 5-31-09Computer Painting by kenne

desert needing the rain
not meant to complain
an inch on the ground
still coming down
looking at camera dropping
doing some cropping
followed by a sun painting
while it’s still raining . . .

enough of the rhyming
I feel cheap forcing rhymes
knowing my fans will be
screaming from empty bleachers.
I seek solitude
on the patio porch
smelling the desert air
in its creosote freshness
seeking to share
a quote from
the Billy Collins poem
Marginalia —

“. . . if you have managed
to graduate from college
without ever having written
‘Man vs. Nature’
in the margin,
perhaps now is the time
to take one step forward.”

— kenne

Morning In The Canyon   1 comment

Wildflowers (1 of 1)-6 blogSenna covesii, aka Desert Senna (September 25, 2014) In Molino Canyon — Image by kenne

Why do we bother with the rest of the day,
the swale of the afternoon,
the sudden dip into evening,

then night with his notorious perfumes,
his many-pointed stars.

from “Morning” by Billy Collins

Capturing The Moment — Sandhill Cranes   3 comments

Whitewater Draw January 2014-2 blogSandhill Cranes  Coming In for a Landing at Whitewater Draw In Southern Arizona — Image by kenne

“Cleared to land on runway 2!”

More images of sandhill cranes to follow in future posting.

%d bloggers like this: