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Best Famous Billy Collins Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Billy Collins poems. This is a select list of the best famous Billy Collins poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Billy Collins poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Billy Collins poems.

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by Billy Collins | |

Flames

 Smokey the Bear heads
into the autumn woods
with a red can of gasoline
and a box of wooden matches.
His ranger's hat is cocked at a disturbing angle.
His brown fur gleams under the high sun as his paws, the size of catcher's mitts, crackle into the distance.
He is sick of dispensing warnings to the careless, the half-wit camper, the dumbbell hiker.
He is going to show them how a professional does it.


by Billy Collins | |

Introduction To Poetry

 I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light 
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poem and watch him probe his way out, or walk inside the poem's room and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterski across the surface of a poem waving at the author's name on the shore.
But all they want to do is tie the poem to a chair with rope and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose to find out what it really means.


by Billy Collins | |

Another Reason Why I Dont Keep A Gun In The House

 The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark that he barks every time they leave the house.
They must switch him on on their way out.
The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
I close all the windows in the house and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast but I can still hear him muffled under the music, barking, barking, barking, and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra, his head raised confidently as if Beethoven had included a part for barking dog.
When the record finally ends he is still barking, sitting there in the oboe section barking, his eyes fixed on the conductor who is entreating him with his baton while the other musicians listen in respectful silence to the famous barking dog solo, that endless coda that first established Beethoven as an innovative genius.


by Billy Collins | |

For Bartleby The Scrivener

 "Every time we get a big gale around here
 some people just refuse to batten down.
" we estimate that ice skating into a sixty mile an hour wind, fully exerting the legs and swinging arms you will be pushed backward an inch every twenty minutes.
in a few days, depending on the size of the lake, the backs of your skates will touch land.
you will then fall on your ass and be blown into the forest.
if you gather enough speed by flapping your arms and keeping your skates pointed you will catch up to other flying people who refused to batten down.
you will exchange knowing waves as you ride the great wind north.


by Billy Collins | |

Today

 If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze

that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house

and unlatch the door to the canary's cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,

a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies

seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking

a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,

releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage

so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting

into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.


by Billy Collins | |

Invention

 Tonight the moon is a cracker,
with a bite out of it
floating in the night,

and in a week or so
according to the calendar
it will probably look

like a silver football,
and nine, maybe ten days ago
it reminded me of a thin bright claw.
But eventually -- by the end of the month, I reckon -- it will waste away to nothing, nothing but stars in the sky, and I will have a few nights to myself, a little time to rest my jittery pen.


by Billy Collins | |

The Only Day In Existence

 The early sun is so pale and shadowy,
I could be looking up at a ghost
in the shape of a window,
a tall, rectangular spirit
looking down at me in bed,
about to demand that I avenge
the murder of my father.
But the morning light is only the first line in the play of this day-- the only day in existence-- the opening chord of its long song, or think of what is permeating the thin bedroom curtains as the beginning of a lecture I will listen to until it is dark, a curious student in a V-neck sweater, angled into the wooden chair of his life, ready with notebook and a chewed-up pencil, quiet as a goldfish in winter, serious as a compass at sea, eager to absorb whatever lesson this damp, overcast Tuesday has to teach me, here in the spacious classroom of the world with its long walls of glass, its heavy, low-hung ceiling.


by Billy Collins | |

Walking Across The Atlantic

 I wait for the holiday crowd to clear the beach
before stepping onto the first wave.
Soon I am walking across the Atlantic thinking about Spain, checking for whales, waterspouts.
I feel the water holding up my shifting weight.
Tonight I will sleep on its rocking surface.
But for now I try to imagine what this must look like to the fish below, the bottoms of my feet appearing, disappearing.


by Billy Collins | |

Silence

 Now it is time to say what you have to say.
The room is quiet.
The whirring fan has been unplugged, and the girl who was tapping a pencil on her desktop has been removed.
So tell us what is on your mind.
We want to hear the sound of your foliage, the unraveling of your tool kit, your songs of loneliness, your songs of hurt.
The trains are motionless on the tracks, the ships are at restn the harbor.
The dogs are cocking their heads and the gods are peering down from their balloons.
The town is hushed, and everyone here has a copy.
So tell us about your parents— your father behind the steering wheel, your cruel mother at the sink.
Let's hear about all the clouds you saw, all the trees.
Read the poem you brought with you tonight.
The ocean has stopped sloshing around, and even Beethoven is sitting up in his deathbed, his cold hearing horn inserted in one ear.


by Billy Collins | |

Neither Snow

 When all of a sudden the city air filled with snow,
the distinguishable flakes
blowing sideways,
looked like krill
fleeing the maw of an advancing whale.
At least they looked that way to me from the taxi window, and since I happened to be sitting that fading Sunday afternoon in the very center of the universe, who was in a better position to say what looked like what, which thing resembled some other? Yes, it was a run of white plankton borne down the Avenue of the Americas in the stream of the wind, phosphorescent against the weighty buildings.
Which made the taxi itself, yellow and slow-moving, a kind of undersea creature, I thought as I wiped the fog from the glass, and me one of its protruding eyes, an eye on a stem swiveling this way and that monitoring one side of its world, observing tons of water tons of people colored signs and lights and now a wildly blowing race of snow.


by Billy Collins | |

Dharma

 The way the dog trots out the front door
every morning
without a hat or an umbrella,
without any money
or the keys to her doghouse
never fails to fill the saucer of my heart
with milky admiration.
Who provides a finer example of a life without encumbrance— Thoreau in his curtainless hut with a single plate, a single spoon? Gandhi with his staff and his holy diapers? Off she goes into the material world with nothing but her brown coat and her modest blue collar, following only her wet nose, the twin portals of her steady breathing, followed only by the plume of her tail.
If only she did not shove the cat aside every morning and eat all his food what a model of self-containment she would be, what a paragon of earthly detachment.
If only she were not so eager for a rub behind the ears, so acrobatic in her welcomes, if only I were not her god.


by Billy Collins | |

Consolation

 See, Phoebus breaking from the willing skies,
See, how the soaring Lark, does with him rise,
And through the air, is such a journy borne
As if she never thought of a return.
Now, to his noon, behold him proudly goe, And look with scorn, on all that's great below.
A Monark he, and ruler of the day, A fav'rite She, that in his beams does play.
Glorious, and high, but shall they ever bee, Glorious, and high, and fixt where now we see? No, both must fall, nor can their stations keep, She to the Earth, and he below the Deep, At night both fall, but the swift hand of time Renews the morning, and again they climb, Then lett no cloudy change, create my sorrow, I'll think 'tis night, and I may rise to-morrow.