Thursday, December 21, 2006


Night Letter to the Reader
by Billy Collins

I get up from the tangled bed and go outside,
a bird leaving its nest,
a snail taking a holiday from its shell,

but only to stand on the lawn,
an ordinary insomniac
amid the growth systems of garden and woods.

If I were younger, I might be thinking
about something I heard at a party,
about an unusual car,

or the press of Saturday night,
but as it is, I am simply conscious,
an animal in pajamas,

sensing only the pale humidity
of the night and the slight zephyrs
that stir the tops of the trees.

The dog has followed me out
and stands a little ahead,
her nose lifted as if she were inhaling,

the tall white flowers,
visible tonight in the darkened garden,
and there was something else I wanted to tell you,

something about the warm orange light
in the windowpanes of the house,
but now I am wondering if you are even listening

and why I bother to tell you these things
that will never make a difference,
flecks of ash, tiny chips of ice.

But this is all I want to do--
tell you that up in the woods
a few night birds were calling,

the grass was cold and wet on my bare feet,
and that at one point, the moon,
looking like the top of Shakespeare's

famous forehead,
appeared, quite unexpectedly,
illuminating a band of moving clouds.



Blogger Remiman said...

Everyday common beauty conveyed with well chosen words. Leaves me feeling comfortable.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Poet with a Day Job said...

This is one of my favorite BC poems. I love him!

3:56 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

An "animal in pajamas" was a great visual. Simple and yet beautiful!

6:15 PM  
Blogger deirdre said...

Love this. The images are crisp.

11:22 PM  
Blogger acumamakiki said...

so perfect with the photo you chose. xo

7:26 AM  
Blogger twitches said...

I know some don't agree, but I think Billy Collins is just wonderful.

10:24 AM  
Blogger January said...

I love this poem. Thanks for sharing it!

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Paris Parfait said...

Lovely! Billy Collins came to the American School of Paris when my daughter was there and made quite the impression.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Nessie Noodle said...

I think this is my favorite photo yet. lovely compostion~

4:55 PM  

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