Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday, February 4, 2011

That's the day I first met Billy Collins.  I'm reprising the posts from that luncheon to provide background for this year's connection .  

Lunch With Billy Collins (part 1)

There are some perks to being perforated.  People reach out and touch you in warm and wonderful ways.  Gifts are delivered, thoughtful soft warm and cozy gifts which show real thought and planning.  And invitations are extended.

A friend of Amster's is a member of the Tucson Literary Society.  While I was in the hospital she began reading The Burrow and noticed Billy Collins in the sidebar.  She sent me an email, wondering if I would like to join her at the TLS's luncheon where he would be the featured speaker.

Did I want to go?  Oh, yes.  Oh, yes yes yes yes yes  (to paraphrase Molly Bloom). 

Would I be able to go?  That was another matter entirely.  But suddenly I had a goal, an event, an occasion to strive toward.  I've been practicing sitting and riding in cars and dressing in more than sweats and a t-shirt and I've been encouraging TBG to consider letting me out of his sight for a few hours and today I had lunch with Billy Collins.

Now that is a sentence which makes me smile.  And it's not a sentence I'm likely to say very often.

The event was wonderful and deserves more than I have the energy tonight to invest in it.  Come back on Monday for the full report.  For now, I offer this poem.  It's what I have read every morning since I was shot (and that's a sentence that does not make me smile) and it's a poem he read today.  I cried like a baby, and my new friend rubbed my back, and Suzanne, Mr. Collins's fiancee, grabbed my hand and squeezed.  When his reading and question-answering was over he left the podium and came right to my chair.  As I was telling him that I read Days every morning he smiled and said "I read that for you"

Billy Collins selected a poem and read it for me.  For me.  I am still trying to get my head around that fact.  So, while I bask in the glow and create an appropriate post for Monday, I leave you with these words of gratitude and looking forward.

Each one is a gift, no doubt,
mysteriously placed in your waking hand
or set upon your forehead
moments before you open your eyes.

Today begins cold and bright,
the ground heavy with snow
and the thick masonry of ice,
the sun glinting off the turrets of clouds.

Through the calm eye of the window
everything is in its place
but so precariously
this day might be resting somehow

on the one before it,
all the days of the past stacked high
like the impossible tower of dishes
entertainers used to build on stage.

No wonder you find yourself
perched on the top of a tall ladder
hoping to add one more.

Just another Wednesday
you whisper,
then holding your breath,
place this cup on yesterday's saucer
without the slightest clink.

by Billy Collins, US Poet Laureate 2001-200

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