Despair, by Billy Collins

This is a fun little poem, I thought.


So much gloom and doubt in our poetry—

flowers wilting on the table,

the self regarding itself in a watery mirror,

Dead leaves cover the ground,

the wind moans in the chimney,

and the tendrils of the yew tree inch toward the coffin.

I wonder what the ancient Chinese poets

would make of all this,

these shadows and empty cupboards?

Today, with the sun blazing in the trees,

my thoughts turn to the great

tenth-century celebrator of experience,

Wa-Hoo, whose delight in the smallest things

could hardly be restrained,

and to his joyous counterpart in the western provinces,


– Billy Collins


4 thoughts on “Despair, by Billy Collins

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