Poetry: An Added Essential

I woke up too early, too cold, too dark to get up. Not able to push the covers off, not able to go to sleep. Silence in the house but a roar in my mind. Still body. Mind tossing.

I thought of getting up, to write a post, but the covers were too soft. My hand wandered over to my bookshelf and reached out to find a slim volume ensuring poetry. Luck of the draw, Billy Collins, The Trouble with Poetry.

Under the covers it took me, each poem touching a cord, a place, a friend, a student, a writer. Early morning communion.

I added the volume to my bag. Alongside my computer, my writer’s notebook, my wallet, keys, a zippered bag of favorite pens, a bookmarked novel.  An added essential. At the ready.

This morning I get up to write and there it is, next to my writer’s notebook. A perfect fit.

This morning, this poem.


There is the sudden silence of the crowd
above a motionless player on the field,
and the silence of the orchid.

The silence of the falling vase
before it strikes the floor,
the silence of the belt when it is not striking the child.

The stillness of the cup and the water in it,
the silence of the moon
and the quiet of the day far from the roar of the sun.

The silence when I hold you to my chest,
the silence of the window above us,
and the silence when you rise and turn away.

And there is the silence of this morning
which I have broken with my pen,
a silence that had piled up all night

like snow falling in the darkness of the house-
the silence before I wrote a word
and the poorer silence now.

–Billy Collins

Please be sure to visit Michelle Barnes at her blog, Today’s Little Ditty, for the Poetry Friday Roundup.



6 thoughts on “Poetry: An Added Essential

  1. I often think there should be good reason to do it. Because it is just such a valuable and precious thing to hold onto. What a beautiful way to break the silence this morning.

  2. Ah, Billy Collins has such a way with words. I love this one you’ve shared and I’m thinking about my students’ request this week that we find new ways to be deep in poetry. I think they may be ready for Billy Collins.

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