Weeping Willows, for Billy Collins

( Copy change of Thesaurus by Billy Collins)


Dear Billy Collins 

what is a flower other than a fan 

of the rising sun on a summer morning? 

when the air is quiet 

and the grass beats on bongos 

to awaken all who dare to listen. 


I write for you Weeping Willows 

and hope you dare to listen too. 




It could be the strain of a prehistoric oak 

that sprouted from the fertile land, rising up 

on its skeleton branches to show off its leaves, 

or some boat in a sea who has mutated into a hurricane 


It means autumn, but it is just a time 

where saplings congregate with their companions, 

a secluded meadow where hundreds of warm handshakes 

are always being exchanged, 

pasture, plain, meadow, forest, veldt, and groves, 

all sharing the same gusts of wind and rays;  

slender, spindly, fragile, lean, lanky, and delicate 

all watching a child or showering the ground 

free, growing, sprouts, flourishing and mobile 

bending and warping in tiers for new sets of eyes. 


Here maple is next to ivy and birch close 

to sibling, separated by fine rings of wisdom. 

and every tribe has its seasonal kin, the one 

who waited the longest to be here: 

eucalyptus, sycamore, or some eleven 

syllable unpronounceable synonym for a pine tree. 

Even the park rangers have to squint at their nameplates. 


I can see my own flora out in the back garden. 

I rarely visit it, because I know there is no 

such thing as an eternal blossom and because I get blue 

around newly bloomed buds who always are picturesque, 

framing benches with clinquant drops of dew 

while blades of grass create a susurrus to set the scene. 


I would rather chimerical branches, away 

from the frost and the petrifying chill,

wandering the planes where they sometimes entwine 

amity with a whole new breed.  

Surely, you have seen the synthesis of two unlike characters 

next to each other on the same key in the harmony, 

a small sanctuary where billet-doux’s like these,  

between perfect strangers, can be exchanged. 


This poem is about: 


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