Friday, March 15, 2013

If you don't love Billy Collins, I don't think we can be friends.

Okay, no, not really.

I have plenty of friends who do not share my love of Billy Collins, or even my love of poetry.

But, honestly, if you can read this poem and not be the slightest bit moved by Billy's (I get to call him Billy because I've blogged about him excessively), powers of observation and endearing existential angst, well, then, I just don't think we can spend Poetry Friday together.

by Billy Collins

At the gate, I sit in a row of blue seats
with the possible company of my death,
this sprawling miscellany of people—
carry-on bags and paperbacks—
that could be gathered in a flash
into a band of pilgrims on the last open road.
Not that I think
if our plane crumpled into a mountain
we would all ascend together,

It's just that the way that man has his briefcase
so carefully arranged,
the way that girl is cooling her tea,
and the flow of the comb that woman
passes through her daughter's hair ...

(Read the whole poem here, at The Writer's Almanac.)


Check out the round up today at Check It Out.


Tabatha said...

I love Billy Collins, so can I sit with you? I hadn't read this poem before -- the ending made me laugh. Thanks :-)

jama said...

Love him and this was also my first time reading this particular poem. He always surprises me in the best way. Thanks for sharing :).

Liz said...

I love it, especially the ending. Since I don't really like flying I can definitely appreciate the sentiment.

Amy said...

Love Billy Collins and this one I'd not read - it's wonderful!!

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

Brilliant! I love his wry sense of can never read too much Billy Collins!

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Karen, thank you for stopping by mjlu, and yes, that was a moment where my need to rhyme overcame good sense, and I apologize to your daughters, my son and even myself--I loved my braces because a) they were kina cool and b) they were taking care of that ghastly overbite.

Now, on to Billy and your whole blog. I think it looks totally different than the last time I was here, and I had no idea that you had written so much along your particular lines, and especially with all this about the new Pope and the future of Catholicism, I do hope to get back and read around. Being a UU predisposes me to be interested in other people's religious journeys.

I too am new to this poem and love Billy's tender end thoughts which are always, always seasoned with just the right amount of comic pepper. He is a master of endings, as demonstrated here. Thanks for this.

And lastly, in this lengthy comment, did you notice that on Jone's roundup he was listed as Billie Collins? I am now hankering for the time and skill to set a BC poem to jazz so that someone suitable can belt out a Billiey CHollidayins classic!

Mary Lee said...

Thanks for a dose of BC. He remains one of my top 5 adult poets.

Karen Edmisten said...

Billy Lovers all, you are welcome here. :)

Heidi, I had missed "Billie" Collins. I'll look forward to your jazz adaptation.

Ruth said...

I love Billy Collins, too. Let's be friends. I actually think of this poem quite often when I am flying. This time I read it, the part about not involving the police made me think about the poem Irene posted on Friday, and these lines: "Everyone you see, you say to them, 'Love me.'
Of course you do not do this out loud; otherwise,
someone would call the cops."
Hmm. I guess some of these thoughts need to just stay in our heads and not be spoken aloud! :-)

Karen Edmisten said...

Ruth -- love Billy Collins? Check.
Friends? Check.
Withholding some thoughts? Check.

Victor said...

This is cool!