Friday, January 11, 2013

Poetry Friday: Billy Collins

Given that last week I tossed Billy Collins aside like a cat book in favor of T.S. Eliot, I feel obligated to return to him this week and let him know how much I love him.

I am also experiencing a newfound appreciation for Collins' poem "Morning." During Advent, Atticus and I put a new resolution into place: we're getting up at 5 a.m. (not every day, but several days a week) to get workouts done before the rest of the day kicks in.

This is, ahem, not a cakewalk for a night owl. (Here's the last time I posted about night owls, Billy, and me.) Yeah, yeah, I usually get up at 6 a.m., so it's not that much earlier. But hey, this new routine involves not only less sleep (one of my favorite activities) it also requires movement and energy for something other than lifting a coffee cup. This is a challenge, people.

And yet, I find there are several things I like about it. First, it's delightful not to have "WORKOUT" hanging over my head all day, a gloomy cloud I don't have time for. Second, when I've gotten up at 5, exercised, had breakfast, consumed eight a couple of cups of coffee, and checked some chores off my list, I find myself bursting into my daughters' room, chirping annoyingly cheerful things, such as, "Time to get up! I've been up for three hours and I feel great! I'm wide awake and happy and you should be, too!"

Their reaction? Not so much.

Tough luck, girls.

I may not be a true morning person in the Collins mold, but I have been seen lately buzzing around the house at unnaturally early times.

Thanks, Billy. You're your own kind of powerhouse. And I'm betting Eliot was a night owl.

by Billy Collins

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?

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

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

The Poetry Friday round up is at No Water River. 


GatheringBooks said...

Hi Karen, I am a night owl myself and I find that I literally have to haul my lazy ass off the bed to run in the early mornings before the sun rises. But you're right, it does give me a different sense of energy and a delightful kind of exuberance once I've done it. Billy Collins is a new discovery for me, but one that has become an absolute favorite.

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

Morning "is the best?" Good grief, this man needs HELP!! I'm with Myra...night ol, all the way. In fact, I do most of my best writing at night.

Bridget Magee said...

I describe myself as a "middle of the day person"...I don't like to stay up late nor do I like to get up early. Unfortunately, my life doesn't support my sleep habits. Thanks for sharing Billy Collins' poem with us! =)

BJ Lee said...

Ah, Billy Collins! This poem left me week in the knees. "The swale of the afternoon" - how absolutely lovely.

Author Amok said...

I love that last image, "lawn steaming like a horse." I am a morning person too, but require a slow entry into the day!

Violet N. said...

Congrats to you on your new routine! I'm totally a morning person and identify with those morning images, but especially 'buzzing around the house on espresso.' Enjoyed that.

Mary Lee said...

I'm solidly in the morning person camp. 5:00-12:00 are my hours of greatest productivity...when the day job doesn't get in the way!!

Ruth said...

I love Billy Collins. I'm becoming more and more of a morning person as I get older.

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

I'm a night person...but Collins' poem is giving me second thoughts.....

Haley @ Carrots for Michaelmas said...

I had never read this one and I'm so glad you introduced me to it. After fighting it for a couple of years, my husband and I are now early birds (because our kids came out of the womb with a 5am wake up time). Now we can get them to stay in bed til 6:30 while we start the coffee and read on the couch together for a minute before he goes to work and little feet run down the hall. Those early morning minutes have become so precious. I sent the poem to my husband (who is the real poetry lover in the family). He loved it, too.

Karen Edmisten said...

Yes, it was in having children that my night owl rhythms were first mercilessly toyed with. :)

Thanks, all, for chiming in!