Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Dead by Billy Collins

"As I'm writing, I'm always reader conscious. I have one reader in mind, someone who is in the room with me, and who I'm talking to, and I want to make sure I don't talk too fast, or too glibly. Usually I try to create a hospitable tone at the beginning of a poem. Stepping from the title to the first lines is like stepping into a canoe. A lot of things can go wrong." (1999, Billy Collins)

Billy Collins is the former US Poet Laureate and one of the America’s best selling (action) poets.
Though I think his website is pretty cool, there is something about his reading which I do not like at all. I´m very sensitive when it comes to voices. A great voice can read anything but then I always have difficulties following the words. I can only hear the voice and the emotions. And if a voice or the reading isn´t that good I don´t want to listen to the poem either.

Here he reads his poem “The Dead” with an animation by Juan Delcan of Spontaneous.



The Dead

The dead are always looking down on us,
they say,
while we are putting on our shoes or making a sandwich,
they are looking down through the glass-bottom boats,
of heaven as they row themselves slowly through eternity.
They watch the tops of our heads moving below on earth,
And when we lie down in a field or on a couch,
Drugged perhaps by the hum of a warm afternoon,
They think we are looking back at them,
which makes them lift their oars and fall silent and wait,
like parents,
for us to close our eyes

7 comments:

bec said...

I'm enjoying your poem posts. A close friend of mine passed away recently and "the dead" poem has a way of staying in my mind.

ksklein said...

Same here... it´s the first time that a friend of mine died. haven´t experienced that before :( and it certainly isn´t nice to loose a good friend.

Switchsky said...

goose bumps..thank you

ksklein said...

you are welcome. :)
did you get the goose bumps from the poem or the video? Or both?

whenever I see/read it, I fell comforted.

Switchsky said...

goose bumps in a good way...not exactly comforted, but just that light flashy feeling of a poem doing its thing.

I didn't watch/listen to the animation at first,(I'm at work) but did just now. It's good too, but I think I prefer the written version.

ksklein said...

ah... okay. that´s about the same way i felt about it.

Auntie Mim said...

I am not a poetry fan...usually. But because you posted it, I listened. I don't have the words to say what I feel. Did I "like" it - no, can't say that; it's too bland of a word. Maybe goosebumps is closer.
I have lost two close college friends and I'm going to go outside, on a beautiful new england summer day, lie on the grass and wave to them. Thanks for this.