A poem written under the influence of Billy Collins*

Sitting on the sofa, staring at the perfect flames;
the two cats, having argued over who gets the lap and who
the haunch, now settled in their places;
I’m thinking about a perfect life, which is what this looks like.

Rain drums on the roof and falls in waves from that one place
where the eave is blocked with leaves. I think about the sheep
in the next-door field, and how their wool might smell,
soaked and muddy. Not shorn and washed, combed and spun and dyed,
and in my hands with circular needles
and a simple scarf pattern;
but live and wiry, doing its job: temperature-moderator, dirt-catcher,

I think of you, and what it means that you are sitting there,
and the scarf in my hands is a gift for you, and the fire
in the hearth is one you laid and lit.
I’m thinking about a perfect life, which is what this looks like.

*Billy Collins is a contemporary American poet, Poet Laureate of the US 2001-2003. I was recently introduced to his work by the enthusiasm of my friends Dove and Lorri, and I am grateful. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Collins

4 thoughts on “A poem written under the influence of Billy Collins*

  1. I love everything about this poem. Truly. Everything. It’s the first thing I read this morning, just as I was thinking about the perfect way to start my day. Which is what this looks like. 😉


    1. Thank you, Lorri! I would never have been able to write this if you hadn’t encouraged me to read Billy Collins’ work.


  2. This poem is absolutely lovely. The linking of indoors and out, the sheep and the finished wool, the concrete imagery, the subtlety with which love is evoked, the musicianly sense of rhythm and phrasing.


    1. Thank you very much! I’m only beginning to understand the poem myself, so I appreciate your comments.


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