top of page

Billy Collins


When it’s late at night and branches.

are banging against the windows,

you might think that love is just a matter

of leaping out of the frying pan of yourself

into the fire of someone else,

but it’s a little more complicated than that.

It’s more like trading the two birds

who might be hiding in that bush

for the one you are not holding in your hand.

A wise man once said that love

was like forcing a horse to drink

but then everyone stopped thinking of him as wise.

Let us be clear about something.

Love is not as simple as getting up

on the wrong side of the bed wearing the emperor’s clothes.

No, it’s more like the way the pen

feels after it has defeated the sword.

It’s a little like the penny saved or the nine dropped stitches.

You look at me through the halo of the last candle

and tell me love is an ill wind

that has no turning, a road that blows no good,

but I am here to remind you,

as our shadows tremble on the walls,

that love is the early bird who is better late than never.

Ballistics. Picador 2009, p77.

Recent Posts

See All

Art that mattered in 2023

Jane Clarke - A Change in the Air - 2023 Tolka 2022/2023 Rachel Cusk - A spy - on seeing without been seen - Harper's Magazine - 2023 Nick Laird - Up Late - 2023 Jesse Darling - Turner Prize Winner -


bottom of page