Spring 1998 • Vol. XX No. 2 Poetry |

The Night House

Every day the body works in the fields of the world mending a stone wall or swinging a sickle through the tall grass--the grass of civics, the grass of money--and every night the body curls around itself and listens for the soft bells of sleep. But the heart is restless and rises from the body in the middle of the night, leaves the trapezoidal bedroom with its thick, pictureless walls to sit by herself at the kitchen table and heat some milk in a pan. And the mind gets up too, puts on a robe and goes downstairs, lights a cigarette and opens a book on engineering. Even the conscience awakens and roams from room to room in the dark, darting away from every mirror like a strange fish. And the soul is up on the roof in her nightdress, straddling the ridge, singing a song about the wildness of the sea until the first rip of pink appears in the sky. Then, they all will return to the sleeping body the way a flock of birds settles in a tree, resuming their daily colloquy, ta

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BILLY COLLINS' latest collection is Nine Horses (Random House, 2002). Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems was published in 2001 by Random House. He was the United States Poet Laureate for 2001-2002.

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The Stare

By Billy Collins

Every day the body works in the fields of the world mending a stone wall or swinging a sickle through the tall grass--the grass of civics, the grass of money--and […]

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