Thursday, March 24, 2011

Good Morning, Readers

I'm up before the sun comes over the Pusch Ridge, startled by the sudden brightness as the first light hits the window in the library.

I'm thinking of you, denizens, and wondering how your day has started, wondering what I can tell you about mine.

Billy Collins says it better than I ever could so please, enjoy the words of my favorite poet describing exactly how I feel about you all right now:

A Portrait of the Reader with a Bowl of Cereal

Every morning I sit across from you
at the same small table,
the sun all over the breakfast things—
curve of a blue-and-white pitcher,
a dish of berries—
me in a sweatshirt or robe,
you invisible.

Most days, we are suspended
over a deep pool of silence.
I stare straight through you
or look out the window at the garden,
the powerful sky,
a cloud passing behind a tree.

There is no need to pass the toast,
the pot of jam,
or pour you a cup of tea,
and I can hide behind the paper,
rotate in its drum of calamitous news.

But some days I may notice
a little door swinging open
in the morning air,
and maybe the tea leaves
of some dream will be stuck
to the china slope of the hour—

then I will lean forward,
elbows on the table,
with something to tell you,
and you will look up, as always,
your spoon dripping milk, ready to listen.

-Billy Collins (Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001-2003)


  1. AB, that's so beautiful. I'm a fan now of Billy Collins because of you.

    Hope you are enjoying your day.

    Megan xxx

  2. I love this Collins piece, too. I keep buying his books, going back in time with each purchase. Such brilliance in ordinary mien.

  3. Likewise on the Billy Collins love. My morning? The tossled mop of blond curls makes her way into the bedroom before light and says "Good morning Mommy."
    "Morning darlin'. Light isn't up yet."
    "I know." says she and climbs into our bed. Snuggles down, but I don't fall back asleep. Its okay.

  4. Love it.

    Coincidentally (or not?), Collins's birthday was the other day, and he was therefore featured in the daily "Writer's Almanac" e-newsletter... including a poem of his which I'd never read (or, haha, forgotten).

    It also included a quote of his, which I love:

    "As I'm writing, I'm always reader conscious. I have one reader in mind, someone who is in the room with me, and who I'm talking to, and I want to make sure I don't talk too fast, or too glibly. Usually I try to create a hospitable tone at the beginning of a poem. Stepping from the title to the first lines is like stepping into a canoe. A lot of things can go wrong."

    [Taking advantage of what is probably a temporary lapse in the daily Web blockery to stop by and fling words in your direction. :)]

  5. OH, I just love that poem a.b., I have to go and buy a book. Busy with my granddaughter today who had what she calls a sleepover last night. She's almost four. It gives Mom and Dad a bit of a break who are always quite busy taking care of her 7 month old triplet siblings. She loves them a bunch but there isn't much one on one time for her right now, so that's where we come in. Have a great day!!.............Carol

  6. Lovely. Absolutely lovely.

  7. Until you mentioned him, I was unaware of Billy Collins, but now I plan to remedy that. It is a lovely poem and reminds me a lot of our mornings here.

  8. That so filled my heart with cheer this morning, which I needed! Thank you for sharing that.

  9. You should all click through to Forgetfulness via the link in JES's comment above. It's another gem

    Billy Collins is such a gentle soul. Glad you could all enjoy him too

  10. My new Billy Collins paperback editions live on my bedside table now, thanks to you. And, please, thank Billy the next time you see him...and I'll bet there will be a next time.

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