Thursday, March 19, 2009


Did I mention that I heard Billy Collins speak on Monday at Tulane undergrad? He's one of my favorite poets, and I was lucky enough to hear him speak four or so years ago at HSU (wow, time flies). His poetry is beautiful and simple, and his quiet, dry humor makes for a perfect reading. Thought I'd share one with you.


Today I pass the time reading
a favorite haiku,
saying the few words over and over.

It feels like eating
the same small, perfect grape
again and again.

I walk through the house reciting it
and leave its letters falling
through the air of every room.

I stand by the big silence of the piano and say it.
I say it in front of a painting of the sea.
I tap out its rhythm on an empty shelf.

I listen to myself saying it,
then I say it without listening,
then I hear it without saying it.

And when the dog looks up at me,
I kneel on the floor
and whisper it into each of his long white ears.

It's the one about the one-ton temple bell
with the moth sleeping on its surface,

and every time I say it, I feel the excruciating
pressure of the moth
on the surface of the iron bell.

When I say it at the window,
the bell is the world
and I am the moth resting there.

When I say it at the mirror,
I am the heavy bell
and the moth is life with its papery wings.

And later, when I say it to you in the dark,
you are the bell,
and I am the tongue of the bell, ringing you,

and the moth has flown
from its line
and moves like a hinge in the air above our bed.

--Billy Collins


J. A. Broussard said...

You got to hear Billy Collins? I'm not sure whether to despise or envy you. I had a dream about John Donne...

J. A. Broussard said...

Okay brat, put up a new post already: every time I see this I get peeved that you heard Billy Collins and I didn't, and you're on my bookmarks bar, so I see it often. And this Friday: I promise. Sorry bout the delays, I was talking to my mom.