Submit to Southword





New Irish Voices
Poetry chapbooks by
Roisin Kelly & Paul McMahon



Liberty Walks Naked
by Maram al-Masri, trans. Theo Dorgan



Chapbooks by Fool for Poetry
Competition Winners 2018

Not in Heaven by Molly Minturn
Bog Arabic by Bernadette McCarthy




Richesses: Francophone Songwriter Poets
Edited and translated by Aidan Hayes





Munster Literature Centre

Create your badge






Arts Council



Cork City Council



Foras na Gaeilge



Cork County Council







Billy Collins poem in Southword Journl


Billy Collins was born in New York City in 1941. He is the author of several books of poetry, including Ballistics (2008); She Was Just Seventeen (2006); The Trouble with Poetry (2005); Nine Horses (2002); Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (2001); Picnic, Lightning (1998); The Art of Drowning (1995); Questions About Angels (1991), which was selected by Edward Hirsch for the National Poetry Series; The Apple That Astonished Paris (1988); Video Poems (1980); and Pokerface (1977). He was appointed as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003. Billy Collins's ninth collection of poems is Horoscopes for the Dead (Random House, 2011).  





Photo © Steven Kovich





The Walk







Lost in Paris


Of all the citizens to stop
it was Piet Mondrian whom I chose
to ask directions to Place de la Concorde.

In the time it took him to set up his board
I could have found one of those
kiosks that sell Gauloises and maps.

But he had already prepped
the whole canvas white
and painted the first of the straight lines blue.

Without their names, every rue
looked the same, and what did the bright
red and yellow zones represent?

No matter. Once I had said adieu
and turned left around a sharp corner,
there was no way to go wrong.

I zigzagged, canvas in hand,
and thanks to his geometrical gift,
ended up, as you can see, precisely at your door.





The Walk


As much as these erratic clouds keep sweeping
this way and that over the roof
of this blue house bordered by hedges and fruit trees,

and as much the world continues to run
in all directions with its head in its hands,
there is one particular robin who appears

every morning on a section of lawn
by the front door with such regularity
he could be a lighthouse keeper or a clock maker.

He could be Kierkegaard were he not so small
and feathered, whom the Danes set their watches by
as he walked through town under a high crest of hair.

It takes a lot to startle this bird—
only a hand clap will make him rise
to one of the low branches of the nearby apple tree.

But I doubt if he would be so naive
to permit me to slip a small collar around his neck
and take him for a walk, first around the house

then later, when more trust had been established,
into town where we would pass the locals
with their children and unimaginative dogs in tow,

and I would hold the robin lightly by a string
as we waited to cross the street, then he would hop
off the curb and off we would go

not caring about what people were saying
even when we stopped at a store front
to admire our strange reflections in the window.



©2010 Billy Collins





Author Links


Billy Collins Homepage

Poetry Foundation resources on Collins

Collins's work at Random House









©2009 Southword Editions
Munster Literature Centre

Southword 6 Southword No 7 Southword No 8 Southword No 9 Southword No 10 Southword 11 southword 12 Southword No 14 Southword No 15