Poetry / The English Teacher / The Social Network

Poetry Isn’t Just for April

2014’s National Poetry Month found me posting every day, adding a chapter of poetry to the common space of this blog. 2015 rolled around in a big hurry and April arrived right on cue after the conclusion of March, as is its habit. It seemed a good time to revive the blog that’s been much neglected, according to its present nature. A semi-valiant effort was made. But there was a tropical interlude. And mornings of laundry. A bit of work. Just like that, tomorrow the calendar will read ‘May’ and another ‘National Poetry Month’ concludes. What a fitting time then, to close out the homage to poetry with Billy Collins’ “My Life.” Enjoy!!

My Life

            Billy Collins


Sometimes I see it as a straight line

drawn with a pencil and a ruler

transecting the circle of the world


or as a finger piercing

a smoke ring, casual, inquisitive,


but then the sun will come out

or the phone will ring

and I will cease to wonder


if it is one thing,

a large ball of air and memory,

or many things,

a string of small farming towns,

a dark road winding through them.


Let us say it is a field

I have been hoeing every day,

hoeing and singing,

then going to sleep in one of its furrows,


or now that it is more than half over,

a partially open door,

rain dripping from the eaves.


Like yours, it could be anything,

a nest with one egg,

a hallway that leads to a thousand rooms—

whatever happens to float into view

when I close my eyes


or look out a window

for more than a few minutes,

so that some days I think

it must be everything and nothing at once.


But this morning, sitting up in bed,

wearing my black sweater and my glasses,

the curtains drawn and the windows up,


I am a lake, my poem is an empty boat,

And my life is the breeze that blows

through the whole scene


Stirring everything it touches—

The surface of the water, the limp sail,

Even the heavy, leafy trees along the shore.

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