Sunday, 18 August 2013


At the first chink of sunrise,
the windows on one side of the house
are frosted with stark orange light,

and in every pale blue window
on the other side
a full moon hangs, a round, white blaze.

I look out one side, then the other,
moving from room to room
as if between countries or parts of my life.

Then I stop and stand in the middle,
extend both arms
like Leonardo's man, naked in a perfect circle.

And when I begin to turn slowly
I can feel the whole house turning with me,
rotating free of the earth.

The sun and moon in all the windows
move, too, with the tips of my fingers,
the solar system turning by degrees

with me, morning's egomaniac,
turning on the hallway carpet in my slippers,
taking the cold orange, blue, and white

for a quiet, unhurried spin,
all wheel and compass, axis and reel,
as wide awake as I will ever be.


  1. I love Billy Collins, but haven't had the joy of seeing this poem before! Have to steal! ;)

    Have you read his take on the traditional sonnet form, in 'Sonnet'? Very funny! And 'Sweet Talk', a play on those love-poems of old describing the beloved to paintings? Again, very clever and funny. I love how he can do drole and understated awe all in one. A good choice for Laureate by all means!

  2. Yeah, I think 'On Turning Ten' is one of his best, too... it's absurd and funny (the blue speed being drained from his bike), and yet it's incredibly sad and moving - I think that's his genius, the understated nature of his poems. :)