Friday, February 29, 2008

Poem for Today


by Billy Collins, Questions About Angels

My life is an open book. It lies here
on a glass table top, its pages shamelessly exposed,
outspread like a bird with hundreds of thin paper wings.

It is a biography, needless to say,
and I am reading and writing it simultaneously
in a language troublesome and private.
Every reader must be a translator with a thick lexicon.

No one has read the whole thing but me
most dip into the middle for a few paragraphs,
then move on to the other shelves, other libraries.
Some have time only for the illustrations.

I love to feel the daily turning of the pages,
the sentences unwinding like string,
and when something really important happens,
I walk out to the edge of the page
and, always the student,
make an asterisk, a little star, in the margin.


  1. I read this several times just to take it all in. Really neat poem...I love the part about adding an asterik!

  2. I noticed your name on Sara's blog comments. Willow. Hmmm, that's my blog name. So I over to say hi. I live in Willow's Cottage; it must be down the road and behind the manor house.

  3. I didn't realize there was another Willow out there. Hello! You know, I started out as willowmanor and shortened it to willow. (You would think they would tell me if that name was already in use.) I'll go back to willowmanor so all can distinquish the two of us. I'll have to go down the road and find your Willow's Cottage! ;)

  4. Willow, I have several books by Billy Collins, but don't remember seeing this poem before. Thanks for posting it. Your blog is such a gem. It's becoming a daily addiction! Sharon

  5. Sharon, thank you so much! You write and post and wonder if anyone is out there. Your comments make it all worthwhile. :)

    Cliche is from his book Questions About Angels.

  6. Hi again, I am completely fine with your keeping the name willow. I think it's amusing that we happened to both post on the same blog on the same day at the same time! It is fun to meet another Willow.

    Willow's Cottage isn't necessarily a physical place. I've lived in four Willow's Cottages in two states and three towns. Willow's Cottage is wherever Willow happens to be living. I guess I should plant a willow tree or bush here!

    I will definitely come back to the manor regularly.

  7. That's a wonderful poem, thank you for sharing it. I don't know Bill Collins....I can see I shall learn about some good new authors by coming back to Willow Manor!

    I watched the clip about The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne on your next looks fantastic. I'm going to hunt for the book and watch for it to come out on DVD. Thanks again.

  8. Sara, check out the Billy Collins site on my favorite links list. It will tell you a little about him. I think I have all his books..I think he is great.

  9. PS~~Thanks Sara for watching the clip! Being new to blogging, I just figured out how to do that and was so proud of myself.;)

  10. I tried to send this but ran into a glitch--it might be a duplicate, if so, just delete!

    Speaking of movies, I notice you have Black Narcissus, A Light in the Piazza, and 84 Charing Cross Road listed as favorites.

    Have you read Rumor Godden's books? A couple others have been made into movies besides Black Narcissus - one is The River, the other is The Peacock Spring, both about India. I haven't seen them in ages, they used to be played on TV late at night...

    Helene Hanff is a delightful author too...84 Charing Cross Road is one of the new DVDs I just got.

    And A Light in the Piazza - how I love that movie from the 1960's! I read the novel years and years ago and have now found myself a copy to keep in my little library. Don't like that new musical though, I tried to watch it on TV but could not get into it.

  11. I absolutely the film Black Narcissus, in fact, I just ordered myself a copy from Amazon, and am anxiously waiting for it. And no, I have not read Rumor Godden's books. Thanks for the tip and am going to look for them this week!!

    Yes, Helen Hanff is wonderful, too, in fact I feel like her character in 84 Charring Cross Road right now discussing books with you! :)

    Olivia de Havilland is lovely in ANY film!!! I adore A Light in the Piazza...I need to check the book and film out from the library again. We have a wonderful library system here. I can order books and films online and have them delivered to my branch.

    Thanks for the inspirations! :)


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)