Tuesday, April 6, 2010

To Live the Moment.

Let me introduce Billy Collins.

The first poem I read by "America's most popular poet" (so called by the New York Times) was Tuesday, June 4th, 1991 (from The Art of Drowning). How could I not fall in love with this poet, this

"......secretary to the morning whose only

responsibility is to take down its bright, airy dictation

until it’s time to go to lunch......"

Collins writes about any ordinary day as if it’s special, unique, extraordinary! Which of course it is. For - can any moment, anyTHING, be called by the slightly soul-less word ordinary?

"If I look up, I see out the window the white stars

of clematis climbing a ladder of strings, a woodpile,

a stack of faded bricks, a small green garden of herbs,

things you would expect to find outside a window,

all written down now and placed in the setting

of a stanza as unalterably as they are seated

in their chairs in the ontological rooms of the world.

Yes, this is the kind of job I could succeed in,

an unpaid but contented amanuensis whose hands

are two birds fluttering on the lettered keys,


When viewed from a small distance, the habitual seems so totally out-of-the-ordinary. Or is it when I stand in the very middle and immerse my complete being in the NOW that I see every single second as the only one of its kind?

Sitting here, in my black swivel chair, feet elevated on a pile of old dictionaries, the fridge humming in the background, my tummy rumbling from lack of lunch, I see that this moment will never return, however ordinary it seems right now. It is early April, an overcast and sun-less

"...... Tuesday

that would quickly be forgotten were it not for my 

writing these few things down as I sit here empty-headed

at the typewriter with a cup of coffee, light and sweet."

What is life if not a continuous string of special seconds?

I started this post with the intention of presenting Introduction to Poetry by Billy Collins. The poem was in my hand while out walking, I was trying to memorize the first lines.

Sitting on my sofa an hour later, gold nib scratching across paper, trying to find something to say, I got all involved with different words.

To Live a Poem certainly reminds me to Live the Moment.


  1. I love Billy Collins and the Poetry 180 site. He's truly a master of the mundane. Beautiful post. Blessings!

  2. Marion -

    His 180 site is great - a project launched, I think, when Poet Laureate. I once heard him say that making a poet the Laureate is a "conspiracy" against their writing - there is so many things to do - other that writing!

    As for Billy Collins himself - this is what I wrote to Cindy on today’s posting:

    A huge YES to Billy Collins! I find his poetry touching in that it is both accessible and intriguing at the same time. There is something very human about him, the way he combines the everyday with the extraordinary. And the relaxed tone in which he reads his own poetry is just ahhhh......his voice as sexy as any Hollywood actor :-)