Thursday, March 2, 2017

Happy Birthday Billy Collins

Woot! Poetry Friday is here.

A little bird over at My Juicy Little Universe reminded me and several in our community that Billy Collins has a birthday coming up. In honor of one of our favorite poet and bard's  silver celebration, we are posting our favorite poem of his or a poem inspired by him.

I would love to share my poem, The Poems of Others, a riff on Billy Collins' poem below. Alas, it's subbed out to a contest and I cannot share until results of the contest are made public. For now, enjoy my inspiration and love for The Poems of Others by the great, Billy Collins.

The Poems of Others
Is there no end to it
the way they keep popping up in magazines
then congregate in the drafty orphanage of a book?
You would think the elm would speak up,
but like the dawn it only inspires–then more of them
Not even the government can put a stop to it.
Just this morning, one approached me like a possum,
snout twitching, impossible to ignore.
Another looked out of the water at me like an otter.
How can anyone dismiss them
when they dangle from the eaves of houses
and throw themselves in our paths?
Perhaps I am being harsh, even ridiculous.
It could have been the day at the zoo
that put me this way–all the children by the cages–
as if only my poems had the right to exist
and people would come down from the hills
in the evening to view them in rooms of white marble.
So I will take the advice of the mentors
and put this in a drawer for a week
maybe even a year or two and then have a calmer
look at it–
but for now I am going to take a walk
through this nearly silent neighborhood
that is my winter resting place, my hibernaculum,
and get my mind off the poems of others
even as they peer down from the trees
or bark at my passing in the guise of local dogs.
Collins, Billy. Ballistics. New York: Random House, 2008. Print.


  1. Thanks for the smile Linda. Billy Collins is a genius. Good luck with your own poem!

  2. Good luck with the contest! It's so lovely to be seeing so many wonderful Collins poems popping up everywhere! :)

  3. Thanks for sharing this Billy Collins poem Linda, it's just chock full of wonderful lines! Good luck with your poem.

  4. See, I knew this would work out well, if only for the selfish delight of meeting many new BC poems that I have never had the joy of enjoying! I am soooo curious about your riff and hope that whatever the outcome of your contest (good luck!) you will share it with us another Friday.

    1. Big hugs and high-fives to YOU for organizing. What a fun PF!

  5. Hoping that your own poem will be accepted, but that we might see if someday, Linda. But today, thanks for this one by Billy Collins. So often he makes me wonder how he touches feelings so exactly? Thanks!

  6. What a treat to read this new-to-me Billy poem, Linda! The only thing I'll appreciate even more is when you post your own winning rendition. That is, once the contest gods have come to their senses. "Pick Linda, already, would ya?!"

  7. Such a great poem (hadn't seen it before)! What a mind -- he can make you laugh at the weirdest things. Looking forward to seeing your poem in the future, Linda.

  8. "Not even the government can put a stop to it." And this particular government seems to have done one thing quite right -- inspire poets and other creatives to use their arts to protest!

    Can't wait to hear that you won the contest!

  9. Appreciations for reminding me of this, Linda.
    My copy is in his 2008 book, BALLISTICS, where this one is a favorite, but also I love,
    "The Flight of the Statues."
    When I read some poets such as Billy Collins, I wonder if my imagination is out to lunch.

    Fingers crossed for your riff on this.

  10. Thanks Linda! It's so fun reading these new-to-me Billy Collins poems. But new or old, he always shows a sense of how to scratch where it itches, doesn't he?

  11. Ha! Didn't know this one, Linda - thanks for sharing. And good luck with your poem! :0)

  12. I love his tense poetry about the poetry of others. It makes him so human.


Friendly, positive comments and feedback are always welcome here. Please let me know I'm not just whistling in the dark!