A sycophantic post about Billy Collins

I love Billy Collins and he is a close second to Seamus Heaney, Adrienne Rich and well a whole of of others  and after all it isn’t a race, so forget that bit about coming second.

Billy Collins

Today, at the airport bookshop

I bought a book.

I put it back once then held

On to it for quite a while

Before taking it to the counter

$29.95 was more than I could

Afford, I reasoned. The price of

A bottle of wine, I argued.

I bought it, and a pen and

A journal which I am

Writing in now.

The title of the book is

Nine Horses and all nine

Are there on the cover.

A poetry book by Billy Collins.

I’m in love with him by page eleven.

He is galloping towards me, scooping me up,

Carrying me off, on one of his nine horses.

His wife Diane with whom he lives

In Northern Worchester County, NY

Will not be happy with his decision to ride off

With me.

Sue Heggie

If you have a few moments I recommend these videos.


This a poem I really like:


You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine…
-Jacques Crickillon

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman’s tea cup.
But don’t worry, I’m not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and–somehow–the wine.


See here for a reading of this poem by a three year old. (Thanks Susan)



One Reply to “A sycophantic post about Billy Collins”

  1. The think about that kid reading Litany that I first thought so strange was that he had it memorised and even when distracted he went back to where he left off. I thought he was just barking the words – but he really got into it at the end (either that or his parents are “excessively encouraging”). Anyway – it’s a marvellous poem. BC does restore the soul and he is so accessible – one of my favourites too though it’s a bit like ice-cream, depends on the mood – (occasionally he’s ‘first’ with Ferlinghetti close behind)


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