Billy Collins

Billy Collins’s latest collection is Ballistics.

Two Poems

Billy Collins, 23 September 2010


As optical illusions go it was one of the more spectacular, a little group of bright stars appearing to move along the night sky as if on a secret mission

while, of course, it was the low clouds that were doing the moving, scattered over my head by a wind from the east. And as hard as I looked I could not get the stars to budge again.

It was like the curious figure of the duck/rabbit...

Poem: ‘The Poems of Others’

Billy Collins, 17 December 2009

Is there no end to it the way they keep popping up in magazines then congregate in the drafty orphanage of a book?

You would think the elm would speak up, but like the dawn it only inspires – then more of them appear. Not even the government can put a stop to it.

Just this morning, one approached me like a possum, snout twitching, impossible to ignore. Another looked out of the water at...

Two Poems

Billy Collins, 26 April 2007

You Said You Would Write

Two strong coffees and an hour of unfocused staring,

and now the hour rolls round to put on some clothes

and then to take them off again and return to bed.

Later, it will be time to stride down the driveway

and wait by the iron mailbox on its solid wooden post

for the truck to round the corner – red, white and blue.

Time even, if he is late, to hop up and...

How suddenly the private is revealed in a bombed-out city, how the blue and white striped wallpaper

of a second-storey bedroom is now exposed to the lightly falling snow as if the room had answered the explosion

wearing only its striped pyjamas. Some neighbours and soldiers poke around in the rubble below

and stare up at the hanging staircase, the portrait of a grandfather, a door dangling...

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