Stuff & Nonsense: My Favorite Poems, Let Me Show You Them

01 April 2012

My Favorite Poems, Let Me Show You Them

April is National Poetry Month so I thought I would (randomly) share some of my favorite poems with you. I'm starting with a poem by Billy Collins as I've enjoyed his poetry ever since I heard him on A Prairie Home Companion. I own three of his poetry collections -- Sailing Alone Around the Room, The Trouble with Poetry, and Ballistics -- and plan to own a fourth, Horoscopes for the Dead, very soon. I think he's a great gateway poet for people who think they do not like poetry, because poetry is obscure, pretentious stuff fit only for bookish types. His poems are charming, witty, and very approachable. His sound recording, The Best Cigarette, is a good place to start.

Today, I'm sharing "The Country" from his collection, Nine Horses: Poems. I'm not sharing the full poem (copyright, y'know), but it's all in the video.
I wondered about 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 one unlikely mouse
padding along a cold water pipe

behind the floral wallpaper
gripping a single wooden match
between the needles of his teeth?

And here's a TED2012 talk by Collins:

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