Welcome, all! This week for Poetry Friday--thanks to the popular suggestion of Linda Mitchell at Mary Lee Hahn's blog last week, all who care to are posting a favorite Billy Collins poem (or Billy-inspired original. March happens to be his birthday month--the great man turns 76 on March 22. Leave your links here starting at 8pm, Early Birds!
I thought to challenge myself by finding a BC number that might actually appropriate for kids, unlike the one being famously recited (you know I had to post it) by this wee acolyte at the altar of words:
But I haven't found a satisfactory one, so I'm going with this one, dear to the heart of mothers and former sleep-away campers) everywhere.
The Lanyard || Billy Collins
The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.
I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that's what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.
She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim,
and I , in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.
Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the archaic truth
that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.
from The Trouble with Poetry (2005)
I'm hoping to have time to put together a "Golden Spine" poem--as you can certainly guess, that's a poem made of the stacked titles of another poet's poems, in tribute to their genius.
In the meantime, the InLinkz froggy will help you hop from Billypad to Billypad, and I pledge to eventually make it to each and every post this weekend. Thanks for stopping by!