Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Poetry Thursday - "Red"

For Rel ;)


Picnic, Lightning

It is possible to be struck by a

meteor or a single-engine plane while
reading in a chair at home. Pedestrians
are flattened by safes falling from
rooftops mostly within the panels of
the comics, but still, we know it is
possible, as well as the flash of
summer lightning, the thermos toppling
over, spilling out on the grass.
And we know the message can be
delivered from within. The heart, no
valentine, decides to quit after
lunch, the power shut off like a
switch, or a tiny dark ship is
unmoored into the flow of the body's
rivers, the brain a monastery,
defenseless on the shore. This is
what I think about when I shovel
compost into a wheelbarrow, and when
I fill the long flower boxes, then
press into rows the limp roots of red
impatiens -- the instant hand of Death
always ready to burst forth from the
sleeve of his voluminous cloak. Then
the soil is full of marvels, bits of
leaf like flakes off a fresco,
red-brown pine needles, a beetle quick
to burrow back under the loam. Then
the wheelbarrow is a wilder blue, the
clouds a brighter white, and all I
hear is the rasp of the steel edge
against a round stone, the small
plants singing with lifted faces, and
the click of the sundial as one hour
sweeps into the next.

by Billy Collins

To see other "red" poems visit here

21 comments:

Brian said...

Tammy, Tammy. I am sure Rel will love this tribute to loam. LOL

It is a perfect poem though.

Remiman said...

Tammy,
This poem is so beautiful and that you would dedicate it to me makes it doubley beautiful.
As the poem intimates, life IS fragile. I want to be like you and make the most of every second God gives me.
;-)
rel

Kamsin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kamsin said...

I wonder if Collins had the William Carlos Williams poem I posted this week in mind when he wrote this (or maybe just subconsciously) with his talk of wheelbarrows and the colour red! Anyway, it's a lovely poem. I'm not much of a gardener, but flowers and nature certainly make the hours more pleasurable.

Pam said...

Precious, fragile life, what perfect words and true thoughts.

pepektheassassin said...

I absolutely love the image os the small plants "singing with lifted faces...." I makes me want to go right out and plant some! Not to the point of inviting a heart attack, of course. Thanks for posting this wonderful poem!

Norma said...

My thumb is as brown as can be, but each spring I do poke some impatiens in the soft, rich loam at our lake house. Lovely--I'm looking forward to it.

Rethabile said...

Frighteningly red. Yes, we're "nothing" beside the immensity of nature. Yes, we should shut up, appreciate all this, and get on with our lives. And yes, this is a very good poem. Moving.

G said...

Hi, Tammy! the small
plants singing with lifted faces

How great is that? Thanks for posting this poem. Hugs.

paris parfait said...

A lovely Billy Collins poem, Tammy, which will no doubt please Rel. And great photo. xo

Becca said...

Love this! Beautiful images, so full of life and its small marvels and mysteries...the "beetle quick to burrow back under the loam"...(I love that word too:)

Thanks for sharing this one!

Gel(Emerald Eyes) said...

Pretty flowers in your favorite color. (I saw your comment on Regina's blog.)Thank you for introducing me to this poet.

giggles said...

Beautiful picture to match the words! I almost posted a similar photo for this prompt, until I realized I rarely plant any red impatients! Hmm why is that? I love them! Provokes many thoughts!
Hugs Sherrie

Crafty Green Poet said...

This is one of my favourite of Collins' poems. I'm planning to read his collection that features this poem again soon.

chiefbiscuit said...

I'm sure yes he was thinking of kamsin's oops I mean WCW's red wheelbarrow - and the photo complements it perfectly.

Regina Clare Jane said...

Oh, this was a wonderful poem for today's prompt- and for Rel! Tammy- you really brighten all our lives!
Thank you!

Amber said...

Love it, Tammy. And the song! I have never heard this version.

:)

twilightspider said...

Perfect poem to share Tammy - I love that we can use our fear of the uncertain to appreciate what we actually have.

Kimberley McGill said...

On a sleepless night I rummage through the poems at PT - some made me smile - others softned my insomiac edges a bit - this one quieted my mind and heart and made room for gratitude. Thank you for sharing it.

Terri /Tinker said...

Life really is fragile and amazing isn't it? Thanks for sharing this, Tammy. xo

Jone said...

Thank you for introducing me to this poet. Hope you are felling better, dear person.