Tuesday, April 1, 2008

National Poetry Month

The Dead

The dead are always looking down on us, they say,
while we are putting on our shoes or making a sandwich,
they are looking down through the glass-bottom boats of heaven
as they row themselves slowly through eternity

They watch the tops of our heads moving below on earth,
and when we lie down in a field or on a couch,
drugged perhaps by the hum of a warm afternoon,
they think we are looking back at them,
which makes them lift their oars and fall
silent and wait, like parents, for us to close our eyes.

~~Billy Collins, Sailing Alone Around the Room, 2001

NPR and Sharon reminded me that April is National Poetry
Month. So, naturally, this would be a great reason to post
another of my favorite Billy Collins poems. I often wonder if
my grandfather, who recently passed away, is aware of my
life’s activities. A very high tech guy for the age of 93, he was
computer savvy far beyond my capabilities. He would have
very much enjoyed my blog and would have passed on little
tidbits of family info for me to post. I like to think that he
does read, and is smiling.


  1. What a great photo and lovely poem ... I will look up, way up in the sky this morning as Winnie and I enjoy our walk along the shore, and say good morning to my sweet red dog Jake.

    We would often (the dogs and I) stop at the bottom of the grassy lane at the back shore and lie in the green grass and stare up at the blue sky and the white clouds ... and just lie there ...

  2. WIllow, Again another Billy Collins poem I haven't read. I love the new look of your site, including your new header. Did you take the lovely photo which accompanies the poem? I enjoy visiting your site so much.

  3. I love your beautiful new banner.

    The amazing cheeseburger platter with hand cut fries and creamy coleslaw is found in a quirky little diner place here, on the outskirts of this little village.

    It is delicious ! cheers, S.

  4. Yes, I'm sure GP is looking down at us...along with the "great cloud of witnesses". I often wonder what he and the rest think of us as they watch us live down here. Makes you feel like they are holding us accountable! Yes, he would have loved your blog....and possibly started his own! Love the pic!

  5. Your blog-refresh looks enchanting Willow. Thank you for the poem. I have never heard of Billy Collins... well I have now and shall look up more of his poetry. The one you shared with us is so moving.

  6. Susan, I love to lie in the grass and look at the sky. There is something wonderful about bonding with the earth, feeling the soft grass and gazing at the sky. It renews the spirit, doesn't it?

  7. Sharon, I had the idea for the picture, but the ground was wet yesterday and I didn't relish the thought of laying in the mud to get a great photo. It's a online freebie.

    Thanks for your kind comment!

  8. Betsy, you know, I think GP might have just started his own blog! ;)


    BPrincess, Thank you! I wanted to do a little spring cleaning at the manor house...things needed a little freshing up. :)

  9. Willow, what a balm for the spirit it is to visit your blog. The new banner is just lovely. Thanks for posting this poem, the imagery it conjures up is quite celestial indeed. I don't know if the departed look down upon us; its one of the mysteries of life. But for me, I know I feel the prescence most strongly, of those I have loved and lost, when I am outdoors, amongst the beauty of nature.

  10. Willow, that is an extraordinary photo of your grandfather. He looks like a very learned archaeologist there. Wisdom and intelligent is manifest in his expression and his stance--I take it he was a man who liked to explore?

  11. Willow... An amazing picture that just draws you in to such a lovely thought provoking poem... A beautiful idea that our loved ones are looking down at us..Very sweet thoughts about your grandfather.... I will now look for Billy Collins poetry..very nice
    Dee Dee

  12. What a beautiful photo. And lovely poem.

  13. Willow, I love the poem and photograph of the sky and the photo of your Grandfather is beautiful. You inspire me.

    I somehow think he is catching a glimpse of you as are all our loved ones waiting for us to join them in paradise.


  14. Lavinia, yes, my GP was a very intelligent man. The picture was taken back in the '70's on a trip to visit family in New Mexico.

  15. Thank you Rebecca! Yes...I think he is too. :)

  16. "I slept and dreamt that life was beauty;
    I woke and found that life was duty"

    -Lord Byron

  17. Beautiful poem, thank you. I'm sure your grandfather is watching over you and thoroughly enjoying your blog. I wonder what my daughter would think of mine. I know she would have loved her own blog filled with fashion and wicked humour.


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