About the poet
Billy Collins (b. 1941) is a genuinely popular poet whose books have sold over 200,000 copies...
I wonder how you are going to feel
when you find out
that I wrote this instead of you,
that it was I who got up early
to sit in the kitchen
and mention with a pen
the rain-soaked windows,
the ivy wallpaper,
and the goldfish circling in its bowl.
Go ahead and turn aside,
bite your lip and tear out the page,
but, listen - it was just a matter of time
before one of us happened
to notice the unlit candles
and the clock humming on the wall.
Plus, nothing happened that morning -
a song on the radio,
a car whistling along the road outside -
and I was only thinking
about the shakers of salt and pepper
that were standing side by side on a place mat.
I wondered if they had become friends
after all these years
or if they were still strangers to one another
like you and I
who manage to be unknown and known
to each other at the same time -
me at this table with a bowl of pears,
you leaning in a doorway somewhere
near some blue hydrangeas, reading this.
From The Trouble with Poetry, (Random House, 2005), copyright © Billy Collins, 2005 used by permission of the author and the publisher.