Monday, November 06, 2006

In the offchance or hope that you might want or need to lighten up too, here's my favorite poem these days, courtesy of my pal Melissa and written by America's poet laureate, Billy Collins. Let yourself laugh!

The Country

I wondered about youwhen you
when you told me never to leave
a box of wooden, strike-anywhere matches
lying around the house because the mice

might get into them and start a fire.
But your face was absolutely straight
when you twisted the lid down on the round tin
where the matches, you said, are always stowed.

Who could sleep that night?
Who could whisk away the thought
of the one unlikely mouse
padding along a cold water pipe

behind the floral wallpaper
gripping a single wooden match
between the needles of his teeth?
Who could not see him rounding a corner,

the blue tip scratching against a rough-hewn beam,
the sudden flare, and the creature
for one bright, shining moment
suddenly thrust ahead of his time -

now a fire-starter, now a torchbearer
in a forgotten ritual, little brown druid
illuminating some ancient night.
Who could fail to notice,

lit up in the blazing insulation,
the tiny looks of wonderment on the faces
of his fellow mice, onetime inhabitants
of what once was your house in the country?


  1. I love love love Billy Collins. M and I share the adoration! I got to hear him read a few years ago and he was amazing. What a great and talented guy. I have a BC poem that I think you will like. I am going to dig it up and send it to you.

    I always begin my poetry unit with another great one of his called "Introduction to Poetry."

  2. how DID you know I would love this? But thank you O mind reader.

  3. this is quite sweet, too, actually. but i do a lot of personification with animals.

  4. I love this. It's perfect for my neurotic worries.

  5. This is one of my all time FAVORITE poems -- thanks for posting it, KJ! I heard him read this on A Prairie Home Companion and I nearly peed my pants. :) And I loved your thirteen about love -- three cheers for the amazing dog Stella! I thought of her (and you and J) so much last week. I saw a road called Stella Road and I smiled. :)

  6. As yet, still anonymous, a comment about the open Number Thirteen on the Love Treatise calls up the notion that love extends the time and attention one demonstrates to learn deeply about another person, to draw out what that other person values consciously or as yet undiscovered in their soul, and nurtures and encourages that value or expression or passion. One may learn the other person holds great pride in Blogging, or laying out plans to be a writer at any scale, or carving away prescriptions for a happy life to massage the sublime and truest joys a life can experience, or enjoys playing games made up on the spot with fascinating friends. Might that be the love you are burstingly feeling, kj??? Your love of the new and unexplored twinkles in your eyes. You can always tell more than one story.

    And thanks for allowing me to sip three apertif glasses of your wonderful limoncello.

  7. I think it's endearing that you love your animals so much and display that openly in your blog. I too have a dog, a young beagle that was recently voted best dog in the world (1% of districts reporting). You should consider posting her sometime Ms. Jasper.

    P.S. - Your son-in-law is stunningly handsome. Your daughter must feel so lucky.