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Billy Collins

Billy Collins

Billy Collins has published nine collections of poetry, including Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, and Picnic, Lightning. In May 2000, Picador in the UK published Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes. From Random House he's published Sailing Alone Around the Room: New & Selected Poems (2001), Nine Horses (2002), Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry, an anthology of poems with an introduction by Billy Collins, The Trouble with Poetry and Other Poems (2005) and Ballistics (2008). The United States Poet Laureate 2001-2003, he was, in January 2004, named New York State Poet Laureate 2004-2006. He is a Distinguished Professor of English at Lehman College of the City University of New York.

Lines Written In A Garden By A Cottage In Herefordshire

No, this time I'm not kidding around.
There's some half-shattered outdoor furniture,
then crowds of dianthus and pink hydrangeas,
honeysuckle going wild over the bright blue door,
and zinc buckets and coal carriers overflowing
with pansies, lavender, and some kind of soft fern—
just the right combination of growth and neglect.

And you don't have to wish for a brick wall,
a gravel path or a leaning disused shed
to complete the picture because they're all right here
as well as a concrete statue of a maiden
holding a jug, one breast exposed, overgrown with ivy.
The only thing you might not think of,
being in another place so far away,

is this one bee who just refused to wait
for all the morning glories to unfurl in the early sun,
and instead, pushed her way into the white flute
of a blossom, disappearing for a moment
before she flew off in her distinctive gold
and black uniform like a player on a team,
heading over the hedge toward a core of honey.


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