Happy Birthday, Billy Collins!

The Writer’s Almanac notes that today is Billy Collins’ 66 birthday. Time to re-read On Turning Ten or The Country (bottom of that page). Collins is one of my favorite poets — perhaps he and Frost share #2 and there is no #1 for me (though I could hardly imagine poets more different than Frost and Collins).

Time to trot out my tribute to Collins:


It doesn’t seem the least bit odd
that all the members of the orchestra
are dogs.
Some in tuxedos,
some in black gowns,
sitting, waiting — good dogs! —
for the conductor
to raise a long meaty bone.
Some clear their throats,
some drool,
none look away for a moment.

It doesn’t seem the least bit odd
that everyone in the audience
is in a tutu.
Men and women dressed for the
ballet, though this is a concert,
each holding a pen and pad
planning to pounce
to snatch some new idea.
As if Beethoven for Dogs
weren’t enough.

It doesn’t seem the least bit odd
in the end
when the conductor puts down his baton,
most of the meat shaken off
to the delight of the First Chair.
He turns and bows
and then I recognize him:
the poet laureate,
the old dog himself. mjh


PS: The WA includes a quote from Collins mentioning sex. I can’t think of any poem by Collins about sex. Maybe that’s why the poem of the day isn’t by Collins but is about sex, sorta.

PPS: Frost’s birthday is 3/26/1874.

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