Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bread and Butter

by Billy Collins

You could hear the ocean from my room
in the guesthouse where I often stayed,
that constant, distant, washy rumbling under the world.

I would sometimes slide back the glass door
and stand on the deck in a thin robe
just to be under the stars again under the clouds

and to hear more clearly the dogs
on the property barking--the brave mother and her pups,
all white, bearded, and low to the ground.

And now something tells me I should make
more out of all that,
moving down and inward where a poem is meant to go.

But this time I want to leave it be,
the sea, the stars, the dogs, and the clouds--
just written down, folded in fours, and handed to my host.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

To Go By Singing

by Wendell Berry

He comes along the street, singing,
a rag of a man, with his game foot and bum's clothes.
He's asking for nothing--his hands
aren't even help out. His song
is the gift of singing, to him
and to all who will listen.

To hear him, you'd think the engines
would all stop, and the flower vendor would stand
with her hands full of flowers and not move.
You'd think somebody would have hired him
and provided him a clean quiet stage to sing on.

But there's no special occasion or place
for his singing--that's why it needs
to be strong. His song doesn't impede the morning
or change it, except by freely adding itself.