Guest poem sent in by Supriya Nair
(Poem #1216) Sonnet
All we need is fourteen lines, well, thirteen now, and after this one just a dozen to launch a little ship on love's storm-tossed seas, then only ten more left like rows of beans. How easily it goes unless you get Elizabethan and insist the iambic bongos must be played and rhymes positioned at the ends of lines, one for every station of the cross. But hang on here wile we make the turn into the final six where all will be resolved, where longing and heartache will find an end, where Laura will tell Petrarch to put down his pen, take off those crazy medieval tights, blow out the lights, and come at last to bed.
Billy Collins is easy to love and easier to understand, but for all that, I don't think he could be classified under "Light Verse". He almost always manages to get serious without seeming to. But then, the things he takes seriously are often the things which we are conditioned NOT to take seriously, but which we secretly do care about. His realm of expertise is the marginalia (see poem #1130) of the mind - history, literature, pets, food, and how all these get mixed up with our daydreams and memories and form bits of our life. He's quite like a kindly, dreamy professor going about it, and this blends beautifully with his dry, educated humour ("Laura will tell Petrarch to put down his pen."). I found a book of his poems which keep me awake half the night, but I picked this one over a lot of others because I read it with the delight of recognition - having given an English exam recently - and the warm, fuzzy, not at all cynical final image of the muse telling her devotee call it a day is, for me, one of Billy Collins' finest achievements. Supriya