Remembering: some random thoughts on spring and a Billy Collins poem


You are the bread and the knife,
 the crystal goblet and the wine.
 You are the dew on the morning grass
 and the burning wheel of the sun.
 You are the white apron of the baker,
 and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.
 However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
 the plums on the counter,
 or the house of cards.
 And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
 There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.
 It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
 maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,
 but you are not even close
 to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.
 And a quick look in the mirror will show
 that you are neither the boots in the corner
 nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.
 It might interest you to know,
 speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
 that I am the sound of rain on the roof.
 I also happen to be the shooting star,
 the evening paper blowing down an alley
 and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.
 I am also the moon in the trees
 and the blind woman’s tea cup.
 But don’t worry, I’m not the bread and the knife.
 You are still the bread and the knife.
 You will always be the bread and the knife,
 not to mention the crystal goblet and–somehow–the wine.
(Billy Collins)
I remember listening to Billy Collins recite this poem. I can still hear his
voice as I read it. We were in a conference room at the University of Arizona in Tucson. One of my fondest memories of Arizona, that and my visits to the Grand Canyon. His voice and presence made me think of Kevin Spacey….
I remember one Easter morning as a little girl attending services at Temple Square and listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir lead the singing. All the women and girls were in dresses with hats and gloves. I must have been three.
I remember spring flowers from years past, the result of planting bulbs from the flowers of previous Easter’s. Every year the garden grew larger as more and more bulbs were added. 
Here in the Midwest spring is usually short lived. We have a lot of dreary rainand a little sun, and fluctuating temperatures that are never quite warm enough.
And then one day it’s hot and summer has arrived and the leaves on the trees have unfurled. It always seems as if this happens instantly.
But for now, today, it’s still just a hint of spring. A few crocuses and some
sun peeking through the clouds. More rain is predicted. All week, rain.
I’m off to clergy conference soon. Then I return for the weekend before heading off for eight days at CREDO. I’m going to Mississippi where spring is in full bloom. 
Happy Spring! May you find plentiful imagery in the world! May it not all be rain.
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About Terri C Pilarski

I am an Episcopal priest serving a delightfully progressive, interesting, creative congregation. I have been married more than half my life to the same man. We have two grown children, plus two dogs and two cats, although the number of four legged household members changes from time to time. I love to garden, knit, read, and play on Facebook or with my blog. I have been a practitioner of daily meditation since I was nineteen. I practice yoga five days a week and walk every where I am able too.
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2 Responses to Remembering: some random thoughts on spring and a Billy Collins poem

  1. living in the drought stricken part of the country, the rain has been most welcome… we hope of course that after it dries up some, we get more rain…. that summer is not as hot, windy, and dry as last year.but as in so many things in life… we shall see. we shall just have to wait and see.may your soul's springtime be fruitful. sounds like your time away will help with that.

  2. Lisa :-] says:

    I was brought up in the midwest, and I have fond memories of spring there. Even though it seems short and capricious, it is so welcome…if only because it signals the end of a somewhat brutal winter. Spring here in the Pacific Northwest is long and drawn out…but the winters, though icky, are not as hard or as cold as in Chicago. So spring doesn't seem quite as exciting.

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