March 22, 2010

Billy Collins (American, b. March 22, 1941)

 Billy Collins
Photo by Steven Kovich


My pen moves along the page
like the snout of a strange animal
shaped like a human arm
and dressed in the sleeve of a loose green sweater

I watch it sniffing the paper ceaselessly
intent as any forager that has nothing on its mind
but the grubs and insects
that will allow it to live another day

It wants only to be here tomorrow
dressed, perhaps, in the sleeve of a plaid shirt
nose pressed against the page
writing a few more dutyful lines

while I gaze out the window
and imagine Budapest
or some other city
where I have never been

Billy Collins, former US Poet Laureate and one of America's best-selling poets, 
reads his poem "Budapest" with animation by Julian Grey of Headgear.