Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Enigma of Glass

by Billy Collins
The first thing I heard this morning
was a rapid flapping sound, soft, insistent—
wings against glass as it turned out
downstairs when I saw the small bird
rioting in the frame of a high window,
trying to hurl itself through
the enigma of glass into the spacious light.
Then a noise in the throat of the cat
who was hunkered on the rug
told me how the bird had gotten inside,
carried in the cold night
through the flap of a basement door,
and later released from the soft grip of teeth.
On a chair, I trapped its pulsations
in a shirt and got it to the door,
so weightless it seemed
to have vanished into the nest of cloth.
But outside, when I uncupped my hands,
it burst into its element,
dipping over the dormant garden
in a spasm of wingbeats
then disappeared over a row of tall hemlocks.
For the rest of the day,
I could feel its wild thrumming
against my palms as I wondered about
the hours it must have spent
pent in the shadows of that room,
hidden in the spiky branches
of our decorated tree, breathing there
among the metallic angels, ceramic apples, stars of yarn,
its eyes open, like mine as I lie in bed tonight
picturing this rare, lucky sparrow
tucked into a holly bush now,
a light snow tumbling through the windless dark.

Merry Christmas Eve! 

And thank you, Leslie, for this poem!


  1. That's so beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. And Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  2. Thank you, Elizabeth for this beautiful poem, and your friend Leslie.
    A lovely vision to hold in my head for this Christmas Eve.

  3. Lovely imagery for this night. Merry Christmas to you, Sophie, Henry and Oliver.

  4. it burst into its element...

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful poem. So touching.

    Merry Christmas Eve to you too, Elizabeth!

  5. You know I'm not good with poems but I love this one. Merry Christmas!

  6. A stunning poem. It makes me think of you and Sophie in the pre dawn as you hold and soothe her and help her reclaim spacious, seizure less peace. Merry Christmas my loves.



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