≡ Menu

The Death of Allegory by Bill Collins (U.S. Poet Laureate)



Alert the Authorities!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Tom Dean August 4, 2018, 9:02 PM

    Oh man, that was brilliant. Thank you for making my morning in Kiev all the better, Vanderleun.

  • Soylent Green August 5, 2018, 5:37 AM

    Sad!

  • JiminAlaska August 5, 2018, 8:32 AM

    What became of them, where have they gone?
    I could ask the same of poetry, where’s the Sonnet, iambic pentameter, the Landay, the Ode?

    The allegory is alive and oh well,
    Expressing the world we live in today
    With pill-box modern free verse, in many shades of gray
    As for tomorrow, time will tell.

  • Patvann August 5, 2018, 11:28 AM

    Darmok?

  • Patvann August 5, 2018, 12:03 PM

    Darmok.

  • Mikey NTH August 5, 2018, 7:39 PM

    When it comes to Art we are all Dorian Grey.

  • Al Johnson August 5, 2018, 11:01 PM

    Coincidentally, I attended a memorial service last night for a lady who died after 97 wonderful and happy years of life. One of her sons read this :

    The Lanyard – Billy Collins

    The other day I was ricocheting slowly
    off the blue walls of this room,
    moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
    from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
    when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
    where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

    No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
    could send one into the past more suddenly-
    a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
    by a deep Adirondack lake
    learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
    into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

    I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
    or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
    but that did not keep me from crossing
    strand over strand again and again
    until I had made a boxy
    red and white lanyard for my mother.

    She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
    and I gave her a lanyard.
    She nursed me in many a sick room,
    lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
    laid cold face-clothes on my forehead,
    and then led me out into the air light

    and taught me to walk and swim,
    and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
    Here are thousands of meals, she said,
    and here is clothing and a good education.
    And here is your lanyard, I replied,
    which I made with a little help from a counselor.

    Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
    strong legs, bones and teeth,
    and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
    and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
    And here, I wish to say to her now,
    is a smaller gift – not the worn truth

    that you can never repay your mother,
    but the rueful admission that when she took
    the two-toned lanyard from my hand,
    I was as sure as a boy could be
    that this useless, worthless thing I wove
    out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

  • Vanderleun August 5, 2018, 11:17 PM

    That’s beautiful and moving and I’ve saved it to disk.

    Thank you Al.