Sunday Walk

Billy Collins Click to read more...

bcollins-230Former Poet Laureate of the United States, Billy Collins is the author of a dozen collections of poetry, most recently Horoscopes for the Dead (Random House, 2011).  His many awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Mark Twain Award for Humor in Poetry.  He is the Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute in Florida and teaches in the MFA program at Stony Brook Southampton.

Not only colorful beds of flowers
ruffled today by a breeze off the lake
but the ruffled surface of the lake itself,
and later a boathouse and an oak tree
so old its heavy limbs rested on the ground.

And I don’t want to leave out
the uniformed campus guard I saw studying
a map of the campus without a student in sight.

Then closer to town,
there were shops under green awnings
and several churches,
one topped with a burnished cross,
another announcing a sermon:
“What You Can Take With You.”

So many odd things to see,
but mostly it’s the sun at its apex
inscribing little circles,
little haloes at the top of the sky,
and the freshening breeze,
the nowhere it came from
and the nowhere it is headed,
every leaf wavering, each branch bowed,

and what can I do? I heard myself asking,
with all this evidence of something,
me without a candle, wafer, or a rug,
not even a compass to tell me the right way to face.

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Discussion

2 Responses to Sunday Walk

  1. Seth Brady Tucker Seth Brady Tucker says:

    Big fan, and not disappointed. I am always awed by BC’s ability to take the simple and make it complex.

  2. Madeline Thorpe says:

    Collins uses such rich imagery throughout this poem… I love the directional senses he invokes. While on a walk on a nice Sunday afternoon or on the general walk of life, we all grapple with which direction we should take. He certainly elevates this walk to a beautiful piece about the grand scheme of human life and decisions.

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