Saturday, October 25, 2008

Smiling Spider, Odilon Redon

The Willies

There is no cure for them,
unlike the heeby-jeebies
or the shakes

which Russian vodka and a hot bath
will smooth out.

The drifties can be licked,
though the vapors often spell trouble.

The whips-and-jangles
go away in time. So do the fantods.
And good company will put the blues
to flight

and do much to relieve the flips,
the quivers and the screamies.

But the willies are another matter.

Anything can give them to you:
electric chairs, raw meat, manta rays,
public restrooms, a footprint,
and every case of the willies is a bad one.

Some say flow with them, ride them out,
but this is useless advice
once you are in their grip.

There is no way to get on top
of the willies. Valium
is ineffective. Hospitals
are not the answer.

Keeping still
and emitting thin, evenly spaced
waves of irony
may help

but don't expect miracles:
the willies are the willies.

Billy Collins
Questions About Angels


  1. What a truly interesting little poem!! I love the part about evenly spaced waves of irony. And you do find the coolest art to display here. I just love the look of this blog. It is so unique!

  2. Thanks, Kate! Your kind words have made my morning a happy one! :)

  3. Yes, the willies are the willies. You've shuddered before you've even thought about it! Isn't that just the best little poem?

  4. What a fun poem, Willow! Where do you find this stuff? And that spider! That REALLY gives me the willies!

  5. I always love Billy Colins' poems.
    He gets it so exactly right.

  6. I don't know where you found that but it is timely and brilliant!

  7. Lady Willow, "willies" are not more secret for You !

    I'l smiling to read Your text !

    Funny post today, with a nice photo...

    Have a good day "Grande Dame"...

  8. Oh yeah! I love Billy Collins's work and really love it that I can now use the phrase "the willies" with confidence, since you did the research on its etymology.

    Thank you!!

  9. Coming home at night to a dark house, movies about demon possession and flying roaches give me the willies. I shudder thinking about these things. Thinking about the movie Psycho while in the shower never fails to creep me out either.

  10. I love the painting and the poem....especially in the same post.

  11. Wonderful poem... remarkable image: cute and creepy, and very fluffy!

  12. Dead on! Raw meat - that's a big one.


  13. Oh, ICK! He even has teeth! I'm too scared to enlarge his picture! Yes, the willies for sure!

  14. Perfect poem for this time of year! Just the name of the poem gives me the willies! And it is true, anything can give you the willies..for is poached eggs!
    Hope you weren't offended by my comment! I giggled when I read yours this morning...

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  16. Wonderful poem!! And terrific spider!! I do hope you keep your orange and black theme into November. I do love it!

    Ah, Russian Vodka and a hot bath....sounds like a plan for tonight!

  17. I love that painting. So different from his usual stuff.

  18. Willow - this was priceless - I laughed so hard! - and egads, I am so behind here by at least three posts! - how can that be? - the pic of Willie is fabulous!

  19. I love Billy Collins! Wonderful! Timely post with Halloween nigh upon us!

  20. Oh Willow, I'm sure posting the Smiling Spider by Odilon Redon has given the willies to the Internet've really done it this time!!!ha

  21. ...don't expect miracles, the willies are the willies...I love that line. You'll know 'em when ya gettum' for sure...ha

  22. Your smiling spider gave me the willies for which there is no cure!

  23. Oh I love it! What a joyful fun romp with words!

  24. The willies are the willies, indeed. ;D

  25. 'Keeping still
    and emitting thin, evenly spaced
    waves of irony
    may help'

    I loved this stanza. Nothing like witty humour to get rid of that creepy feeling.

    Greetings from London.

  26. Billy Collins' poems always come along with a little twinkle and a warm embrace for the soul, no matter the subject. Sometimes I imagine them walking straight across the heart, with a light step, their little feet clad in fine cordovan, tied with lace. They come seemingly out of nowhere, with a casualness that betrays their sense of mission. Some evenings I want nothing more than curl up with them, and let them dance like sugar plums.

  27. I am a BIG fan of Billy Collins. Thanks.

  28. What a great little poem that is. The only 'willies' I knew of previously were the chorus of ghosts in 'Giselle'. They gave all the men the willies too! Creepy creepy spider too.


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