The Night House, Billy Collins

Every day the body works in the fields of the world Mending a stone wall Or swinging a sickle through the tall grass- The grass of civics, the grass of money- And every night the body curls around itself And listens for the soft bells of sleep. But the heart is restless and rises From … Continue reading

Today, by Billy Collins

It’s a Billy Collins day.  And then Billy nails it, as always.   If ever there were a spring day so perfect, so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze that it made you want to throw open all the windows in the house and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage, indeed, rip the little … Continue reading

Fishing on the Susquehanna in July

Fishing on the Susquehanna in July by Billy Collins I have never been fishing on the Susquehanna or on any river for that matter to be perfectly honest. Not in July or any month have I had the pleasure–if it is a pleasure– of fishing on the Susquehanna. I am more likely to be found … Continue reading

Silence, by Billy Collins

There is the sudden silence of the crowd above a player not moving on the field, and the silence of the orchid. The silence of the falling vase before it strikes the floor, the silence of the belt when it is not striking the child. The stillness of the cup and the water in it, … Continue reading

Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep A Gun In The House

The neighbors’ dog will not stop barking. He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark that he barks every time they leave the house. They must switch him on on their way out. The neighbors’ dog will not stop barking. I close all the windows in the house and put on a Beethoven symphony full … Continue reading


After three days of steady rain – over two inches said the radio – I follow the example of monks who write by a window, sunlight on the page.   Five times this morning, I loaded a wheelbarrow with wood and steered it down the hill to the house, and later I will cut down … Continue reading

Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes

First, her tippet made of tulle, easily lifted off her shoulders and laid on the back of a wooden chair. And her bonnet, the bow undone with a light forward pull. Then the long white dress, a more complicated matter with mother-of-pearl buttons down the back, so tiny and numerous that it takes forever before … Continue reading