Friday, February 06, 2009

Poetry Friday -- Metaphorically Speaking

by Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,

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.
(the middle part of the poem is here)

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 am 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.

Here's what I want to know. What are you? It would interest me to know, "speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world," what you are.

And what am I?

I am the frost on my car's windshield in the morning,
and I am the stacks of papers and files that haven't been put away,
but I am also the piece of rainbow that the crystal in the window makes
when the sun comes in at just the right angle.

What are my students? They are...

...the annoying squirrel on the porch,
...the book, with so many ideas,
...the sneakers on the baseball field,
...the hair on a golden retriever,
...the sun in the summer.

They are...

...the homework that is not finished,
...the wind slowly blowing,
...the soft butter on the roll,
...a feather,
...the letter D, airplane that flies over the clouds.

They are...

...popcorn in the microwave,
...syrup on pancakes,
...the moss that stays forever on the rock,
...the brush that makes the painting,
...the volcano that erupts,
...a hare on the prairie,
...a worm in an apple,
...the wind of a tornado.

They are...

...the sunset in the evening sky,
...the moon and the sun,
...the noise in my mother's house,
...the thorn on the rose,
...the sugar in a chocolate bar,
...the H in hurt,
...but most importantly, the snowflake on a snowy day.

Elaine has the round up this week at Wild Rose Reader.


  1. I am a sparrow amongst the flock
    I am a beetle atop a rock
    I am the ground beneath your feet.
    I am a poem that's just complete.

  2. "The H in hurt." Oh. Your students are quite brilliant.

    What am I? Today, I'm the dress you should have bought instead of the one you did. Tomorrow, it might be reversed.

  3. I am
    the wind that unexpectedly cuts through your fleece jacket

    the tune that is vaguely familiar

    the bookshelf sagging in the middle with the weight of the books you want to read one day

  4. I am the L in love with this post.

    Also the C in all things chocolate :9. . .

  5. I may have to use this as a poetry club writing prompt. Love it. Too early this AM to think what I am but will ponder it throughout the day.

  6. I am the reader impressed with all these metaphors!


Comment moderation is turned on.