Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Poem Someone Else Linked To

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.
However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.
It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.
And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.
It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.
I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.
I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman’s tea cup.
But don’t worry, I’m not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and–somehow–the wine.

--Billy Collins


  1. [Warbled to the tune of Meatloaf/Etheridge's "I won't do that"]

    You may be many things to me,
    But you're not all that.

  2. Ambiguity is so ambiguous sometimes.

    But an oddly beautiful poem nonetheless

  3. If you're the bread and wine, AND the means to consume them, what else do you need to be?

  4. He's fantastic. I heard him at an event a couple of years back, and he read this one. (My favorite is still probably "Introduction to Poetry.")

    By the way, the Favorite Poem Project just sent me their annual call for applications to the Summer Poetry Institute (at Boston University). I imagine you can acquire the info if you know anyone interested, or I can forward it.

  5. You are the reflection of the moon on the water
    but you're not the moon