A Billy Collins Poem to Counter Everyone Else’s Amazing Kids and Lives

Sometimes, it’s hard to read Facebook posts.  It feels like everyone else’s lives and kids are simply amazing.  And what we would post if we were honest would be more like:  “I discovered week old crusty dishes and chocolate-milk dragged glasses in my daughter’s bedroom, once I dug through the pile of socks that seem to multiply like rabbits.  Really?  This is not the parenthood I signed up for.”  Or, “My husband listens to Ira Glass’ This American Life for hours.  Does he find him more interesting than me?  Probably.  I”m not all that interesting.  We’ve been married a long time.”   Or, “Great, high school basketball season is about to begin.  My son’s team has not won ONE game in two years.  Do I really need to go to his games?”

So, From the new book “Aimless Love” by Billy Collins:  Because he puts things in perspective and makes us laugh, which sends all sorts of good neuro-chemicals through our brains.

“To My favorite 17 Year Old High School Girl”

“Do you realize that if you had started building the Parthenon on the day you were born,you would be all done in only one more year.  Of course, you couldn’t have done it alone.  So never mind.  You’re fine just as you are, you are loved simply for being yourself. 

But did you know that by your age, Judy Garland was pulling down $100,000 a picture, Joan of Arc was leading the French Army to victory, and Blaise Pascal had cleaned up his room?  No wait, I mean he had invented the calculator.

Of course, there will be time for all that later in your life, after you come out of your room and begin to blossom, or at least, pick up all of your socks.

For some reason I keep remembering that Lady Jane Gray was Queen of England when she was only 15, but then she was beheaded, so never mind her as a role model.

A few centuries later, when he was your age, Franz Schubert was doing the dishes for his family, but that did not keep him from composing 2 symphonies, 4 operas, and 2 complete Masses as a youngster.

But of course, that was in Austria at the height of Romantic Lyricism, not here in the suburbs of Cleveland.

Frankly, who cares if Annie Oakley was a crack shot at 15 or Maria Collasse debuted as Tosca at 17.

We think you are special by just being you, playing with your food and staring into space.

By the way, I lied about Schubert doing the dishes, but that doesn’t mean he never helped out around the house.”


See Stephen Colbert interview Billy Collins and them reading the poem together.



3 thoughts on “A Billy Collins Poem to Counter Everyone Else’s Amazing Kids and Lives

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