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(22 March 1941 - / New York City)

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I Chop Some Parsley While Listening To Art Blakey's Version Of "Three Blind Mice"

And I start wondering how they came to be blind.
If it was congenital, they could be brothers and sister,
and I think of the poor mother
brooding over her sightless young triplets.

Or was it a common accident, all three caught
in a searing explosion, a firework perhaps?
If not,
if each came to his or her blindness separately,

how did they ever manage to find one another?
Would it not be difficult for a blind mouse
to locate even one fellow mouse with vision
let alone two other blind ones?

And how, in their tiny darkness,
could they possibly have run after a farmer's wife
or anyone else's wife for that matter?
Not to mention why.

Just so she could cut off their tails
with a carving knife, is the cynic's answer,
but the thought of them without eyes
and now without tails to trail through the moist grass

or slip around the corner of a baseboard
has the cynic who always lounges within me
up off his couch and at the window
trying to hide the rising softness that he feels.

By now I am on to dicing an onion
which might account for the wet stinging
in my own eyes, though Freddie Hubbard's
mournful trumpet on "Blue Moon,"

which happens to be the next cut,
cannot be said to be making matters any better.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003


Read poems about / on: sister, moon, mother, alone, brother, rose, running

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Comments about this poem (I Go Back To The House For A Book by Billy Collins )

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  • Philip Edward Price (6/22/2012 12:43:00 PM)

    Wonderful Billy Collins
    Maybe its not three blind mice
    perhaps its mouse mouse mouse
    And what about Sage Rosemary and Thyme

    6 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • Ian Curtis (2/17/2006 11:15:00 AM)

    This is the cleverest thing I have ever read
    Ian

  • Raynette Eitel (4/18/2005 11:42:00 PM)

    Oh my goodness. Billy Collins CAN make a silk purse out of a sow's ears! (and chop parsley at the same time.) Wonderful!

  • Lorri Cardillo (3/12/2005 12:41:00 PM)

    love it, it's hysterical!

Read all 4 comments »

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