Archive for the ‘Billy Collins’ Tag

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.

September 11, 2001 — Writings and Images From DoubleTake 2001 Special Edition   Leave a comment

DoubleTake Collage blog

DoubleTake Special Edition Cover Photo by Kevin Bubriski: Top Right Photo by Peter Turnley, Bottom Right by Kevin Bubriski


OBITUARIES

These are no pages for the young,
who are better off in one another’s arms,

nor for those who just need to know
about the price of gold
or a hurricane that is ripping up the Keys. 

But eventually you may join
the crowed who turn here first to see
who has fallen in the night,
who has left a shape of air walking in their place.

Here is where the final cards are shown,
the age, the cause, the plaque of deeds,
and sometimes an odd scrap of news –
that she collected sugar bowls,
that he played solitaire without and clothes.

And the end is where the survivors
huddle under the tin roof of a paragraph,
as if they had escaped the flame of death. 

What better way to place a thin black frame
around the things of the morning –
the hand-painted cup,
the hemispheres of a cut orange,
the slant of sunlight on the table.

And often a most peculiar pair turns up,
strange roommates lying there
side by side on the page –
Arthur Godfrey next to Man Ray,
Bo Diddley by the side of Dale Evans.

It is enough to bring to mind an ark of death,
not the couples of the animal kingdom,
but rather pairs of men and women
ascending the gangplank two by two,

Surgeon and model,
balloonist and metalworker,
an archaeologist and an authority on pain.

Arm in arm, they get on board
then join the others leaning on the rails,
all saved at last from the awful flood of life –

So many of them every day
there would have to be many arks,
an armada to ferry the dead
over the heavy waters that roll beyond the world,

and many Noahs too,
bearded and fiercely browed,
vigilant up there at every prow.

— Billy Collins

CHILDREN’S EXPRESSIONS

“Yet again, as we considered what certain youngsters had to offer the eyes and ears of others, we recalled the words of a New Jersey pediatrician, William Carlos Williams, as recalled by his son, William Eric Williams, also a pediatrician of America’s Garden State, just south of the Manhattan skyline:

“Dad would come home from his house calls {to 9 Ridge Road, Rutherford, where both those does lived and practiced medicine} and he’d be excited, we could see — his face glowing with the light a kid had given him: something said, something drawn. He called those kids him teachers. ‘They don’t miss a trick, and there’s little that passes them by.’ We’d nod — glad to see and enjoy dad, the ever grateful student, saluting with all his heart the boys and girls, ‘the young writers and artists of America,’ he called them, who would always get him going so much.”

Sarah Himmel, fifth grade, Newman Elementary School, Needham, Massachustts

Sarah Himmel, fifth grade, Newman Elementary School, Needham, Massachusetts

Melanie Snow, fifth grade, Newman Elementary School, Needham, Massachusetts

Melanie Snow, fifth grade, Newman Elementary School, Needham, Massachusetts

Danny Beren, fifth grade, Newman Elementary School, Needham, Massachusetts

Danny Beren, fifth grade, Newman Elementary School, Needham, Massachusetts

Emily Smith, fifth grade, Newman Elementary School, Needham, Massachusetts

Emily Smith, fifth grade, Newman Elementary School, Needham, Massachusetts

All Images from the 2000 Special Edition of DoubleTake Magazine

Capturing the Word — Billy Collins and The Tucson Kid   1 comment


Annie Guthrie/University of Arizona Poetry Center

This past Sunday, former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins was in Tucson for a University of Arizona Poetry Center event.
Having Collins here is draw enough, but the event drew national attention on NPR because of a precocious
three year old’s (Samuel Chelpka) YouTube video reading the Collin’s poem, “Litany.”
Samuel’s video reciting the Collin’s poem by heart has more than 320,000 hits, a lot more than the more than 93,000 hits Collins has received reading “Litany.”

kenne

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