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April is the Coolest Month – Just Poets Favorite Poem for April 7

As part of National Poetry Month, Just Poets members will share their favorite poems along with a brief note about why the poem is their favorite poem. Today’s poem is selected by M. J. Iuppa.

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Billy Collins

Litany

   You are the bread and the knife,
   The crystal goblet and the wine . . .
      – Jacques Crickillon

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and – somehow – the wine.

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Just Poets Member Statement:

Collin’s poem “Litany” is true to a list of invocations and alternate responses. Inspired by another poet’s poem  of pure adoration, Collins gives us something more – the under-telling of love, with his humor, isn’t so one sided, is it?

– M. J. Iuppa

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“Litany” appears in Nine Horses, which is available by clicking here.

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