Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Morning Poetry


Today I pass the time reading

a favorite haiku,
saying the few words over and over.

It feels like eating

the same small, perfect grape
again and again.

I walk through the house
reciting it
and leave its letters falling
through the air of every room.

I stand by the big silence of the piano and say it.

I say it in front of a painting of the sea.
I tap out its rhythm on an empty shelf

I listen to myself saying it,
then I say it without listening,

then I hear it without saying it.

And when the dog looks up at me,
I kneel down on the floor
and whisper it into each of his long white ears.

It's the one about the one-ton temple bell
with the moth sleeping on its surface,

and every time I say it, I feel the excruciating

pressure of the moth

on the surface of the iron bell.

When I say it at the window,
the bell is the world

and I am the moth resting there.

When I say it at the mirror,
I am the heavy bell
and the moth is life with its papery wings.

And later, when I say it to you in the dark,
you are the bell,
and I am the tongue of the bell, ringing you,

and the moth has flown
from its line
and moves like a hinge in the air above our bed.
~ Billy Collins

The image above is by Lisa Kristine. I have a very large version that hangs over our bed. Listen.


Jeanne said...

Love all you share
Love you

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Simply beautiful!! Worth a second read. Bye.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful....thanks for sharing!!!

Jessica said...

A cup of coffee and a little poetry-Relyn you are starting my day perfectly!

Jana said...

sigh* i love this! Thanks Relyn

S. Etole said...

a quiet Sunday read ...

Dorit said...


dulcy said...

What a lovely way to start a cold Sunday morning. Miss and love you too! I may be at school sometime this week.


Anonymous said...

Pure Awesomeness Relyn!!

Gigi said...

Relyn, if we lived near each other, I'd say, let's start a reading group, just me and you. We love all the same poets. Indeed, I think we share many of the same favorite poems. Sigh. xoxo Gigi

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

This is beautiful...and thought provoking.


Anonymous said...

That's lovely. A beautiful poem. And I looked up the haiku he is referencing:

haiku by Buson (1716-84):

on the one ton temple bell
a moon-moth, folded into sleep,
sits still.

Taniguchi Buson

Christina said...

this takes my breath away.

Roban said...

You find the best poems.... and share them. How good is that?

Char said...


PixieDust said...

The comparison of the haiku and grape is so refreshing and tantalizing... love this...



SE'LAH... said...

beautiful...thanks so much for sharing.

one love.

Dawn said...

Oh. I like. I like it alot!

Isabel said...

What a pleasure to revisit Collins' Japan!

Thank You!



Derrick said...

Hi Relyn,

The third stanza creates a very attractive image.

dutchbaby said...

I just love Billy Collins - he's the best! Great choices: the poem, the image, and the YouTube clip is sheer brilliance!

bigBANG studio said...

Billy Collins to start off my Monday? Perfect. Thank you sweet Relyn!

Meri said...

Wow! Sensual. . .

Georgianna said...

One of the reasons to love visiting here is seeing how many like minded souls love and appreciate the written word, the near-lost poetry of life. This post especially is dear to me – we spent several years in a small coast village in Japan when I was growing up. Have a lovely week filled with joy, dear. xoxo – g

gkgirl said...


that was stunning.

and just what i needed to make
my cold rainy windy morning
a little brighter,
thank you.


Jeanie said...

This is stunning. And it SO captures Japan!

Enchanted Oak said...

You've introduced me to a poet I didn't know. I'll have to go Google Billy Collins. I was trained on classical poetry. Stopped learning after a while with work and family. Now I'm free again to learn and stretch and grow. Thank you for introducing me to a new joy.
Cheers, Chris

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