National Poetry Month: Day 2

Yes, I know that there wasn't any Day 1. However, I have challenged myself to try posting a poem every day for this month and talk about it. I will admit that I rarely pick up poetry spontaneously, and though I like to complain that no one checks out the poetry books at the library, I don't either. Many of my friends are poets and I always feel a little guilty that I'm not so great and appreciating poetry in the way that I should. Nevertheless, when I started thinking about poetry the other day I could easily recall a number of poems that have touched my life in various ways. I will be posting them throughout the month and possibly commenting on them. Some are very well-known, some or not. Some are written by my friends, and I hope that if I omit some of my friend-poets they will forgive me. This is a personal challenge, but it's a loosely structured one.

Today I will start with a poem by Billy Collins that is a lot of fun. It's fairly well-known and you've probably read it before. I think the way it plays with symbolism is a perfect introduction to a month of poetry:

Litany
by Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine...
-Jacques Crickillon


You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.     

Comments

Lindsay said…
I love that poem. I once heard a recording of Billy Collins reading it and that just made it even more awesome than it already is.
Desmama said…
Oh, didn't know it was National Poetry Month! You've inspired me to post a few of my own favorites. This one was great.
Evelyn Theresa said…
Hilarious!!! I've never heard this poem. I love it. Thank you for posting. I look forward to seeing your poems every day this month. I think that will be wonderful.

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