nine horses

Monday, December 30, 2013

{photo credit: me}

book one of my christmas books.

nine horses: poems by billy collins.

mr. collins is my favorite. i was introduced to him in college by a boy i had a fleeting crush on, and, unlike this particular boy, billy caught and captured my full attention, reeling me in. he writes mostly about simple things, everyday occurrences, but the words he uses are so magical and vivid. he turns something like forgetting a book and walking back into the house to retrieve one into a philosophical quandary.

"i go back to the house for a book"

i turn around on the gravel 
and go back to the house for a book, 
something to read at the doctor’s office, 
and while i am inside, running the finger 
of inquisition along a shelf, 
another me that did not bother 
to go back to the house for a book 
heads out on his own, 
rolls down the driveway, 
and swings left toward town, 
a ghost in his ghost car, 
another knot in the string of time, 
a good three minutes ahead of me— 
a spacing that will now continue 
for the rest of my life. 
sometimes i think i see him 
a few people in front of me on a line 
or getting up from a table 
to leave the restaurant just before i do, 
slipping into his coat on the way out the door. 
but there is no catching him, 
no way to slow him down 
and put us back in synch, 
unless one day he decides to go back 
to the house for something, 
but i cannot imagine 
for the life of me what that might be. 
he is out there always before me, 
blazing my trail, invisible scout, 
hound that pulls me along, 
shade i am doomed to follow, 
my perfect double, 
only bumped an inch into the future, 
and not nearly as well-versed as i 
in the love poems of ovid— 
i who went back to the house 
that fateful winter morning and got the book.

see what i mean? wicked sweet. billy was the poet laureate of the US from 2001-2003 for good reason.  i hate to say his poetry is "accessible" because it makes me sound like a poetry snob or some polished highbrow, and i am far from it (you're not surprised). so, instead, i will say his poetry can be enjoyed without the use of a poetry concordance. this is something i appreciate. it's how i prefer to write poetry (when i do), and i think when you can write about something simple such as a rainy day or the shape of an orange, and keep your readers' attention, it is quite a talent.

check him out and read a few of his poems if you care to. i'm already more then halfway through nine horses, but i'll definitely be going back through and taking in a few of the poems more slowly.

do you have a favorite poet or poem? do you know of any poet whose style matches billy's? i'd love to know!


  1. This poem is lovely! I love gorgeous words about simple and seemingly small things. I'l have to check him out!

    Tightrope to the Sun

    1. yes, he is really wonderful. his newest book: aimless love. if you do read his work, i'd love to know what you think!


love hearing from my readers! xoxo

Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground