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25 April 2012

Put a Poem in Your Pocket - 26 April

A popular Chicago Tribune writer once called Billy Collins our very own stand-up poet.  Indeed, many of Collins's poems prod the reader or listener into reflection through humor.  It's not everyone's cup of tea, but I have to say, I'm a fan.

Celebrate April is Poetry Month by putting a poem in your pocket to share with others.  26 April 2012 has been declared Poem in Your Pocket Day.

The Fish
As soon as the elderly waiter
placed before me the fish I had ordered,
it began to stare up at me
with its one flat, iridescent eye.
I feel sorry for you, it seemed to say,
eating alone in this awful restaurant
bathed in such unkindly light
and surrounded by those dreadful murals of Sicily.
And I feel sorry for you, too--
yanked from the sea and now lying dead
next to some boiled potatoes in Pittsburgh--
I said back to the fish as I raised my fork.
And thus my dinner in an unfamiliar city
with its rivers and lighted bridges
was graced not only with chilled wine
and lemon slices but with compassion and sorrow
even after the waiter had removed my plate
with the head of the fish still staring
and the barrel vault of its delicate bones
terribly exposed, save for a shroud of parsley.
-Billy Collins from Ballistics

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