i ♥ Billy Collins

How to describe Collins?  He is a poetry rockstar.  A brilliant poet who is famous while he’s still alive.  A comedian with words.  The king of the killer last line.

Billy Collins is so popular that it’s almost a cliche to like this former U.S. Poet Laureate.

I don’t care.


No Things
by Billy Collins

This love for the petty things,
part natural from the slow of childhood,
part a literary affectation,

this attention to the morning flower
and later in the day to a fly
strolling along the rim of a wineglass —

are we just avoiding the one true destiny,
when we do that? averting our eyes from
Philip Larkin who waits for us in an undertaker’s coat?

The leafless branches against the sky
will not save anyone form the infinity of death,
nor will the sugar bowl or the sugar spoon on the table.

So why bother with the checkerboard lighthouse?
Why waste time on the sparrow,
or the wildflowers along the roadside

when we should all be alone in our rooms
throwing ourselves against the wall of life
and the opposite wall of death,

the door locked behind us
as we hurl ourselves at the question of meaning,
and the enigma of our origins?

What good is the firefly,
the droplet running along the green leaf,
or even the bar of soap spinning around the bathtub

when ultimately we are meant to be
banging away on the mystery
as hard as we can and to hell with the neighbors?

banging away on nothingness itself,
some with the foreheads,
others with the maul of sense, the raised jawbone of poetry.