Imagine Poems - Poems For Imagine

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Candle Hat - Poem by Billy Collins

In most self-portraits it is the face that dominates:
Cezanne is a pair of eyes swimming in brushstrokes,
Van Gogh stares out of a halo of swirling darkness,
Rembrant looks relieved as if he were taking a breather
from painting The Blinding of Sampson.

But in this one Goya stands well back from the mirror
and is seen posed in the clutter of his studio
addressing a canvas tilted back on a tall easel.

He appears to be smiling out at us as if he knew
we would be amused by the extraordinary hat on his head
which is fitted around the brim with candle holders,
a device that allowed him to work into the night.

You can only wonder what it would be like
to be wearing such a chandelier on your head
as if you were a walking dining room or concert hall.

But once you see this hat there is no need to read
any biography of Goya or to memorize his dates.

To understand Goya you only have to imagine him
lighting the candles one by one, then placing
the hat on his head, ready for a night of work.

Imagine him surprising his wife with his new invention,
the laughing like a birthday cake when she saw the glow.

Imagine him flickering through the rooms of his house
with all the shadows flying across the walls.

Imagine a lost traveler knocking on his door
one dark night in the hill country of Spain.
"Come in, " he would say, "I was just painting myself,"
as he stood in the doorway holding up the wand of a brush,
illuminated in the blaze of his famous candle hat.


Comments about Candle Hat by Billy Collins

  • Rookie Eiz Qarqash (6/3/2012 5:53:00 AM)

    This poem is second to none. It's the first poem I read for Mr. Collins and it's the best poem ever. As I read it, I'd just start wondering where Mr. Collins got all that creativity from. (Report) Reply

    14 person liked.
    9 person did not like.
  • Rookie Luke Johnson (12/15/2009 7:50:00 PM)

    Collins reminds me of Walter Matheau. His dry humor is insatiable. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 154 Points Michael Gale (4/9/2009 10:00:00 PM)

    Imagine what would have happened as he walked through his house and had accidently got too close to a window drapery, or perhaps a Christmas Tree too old and dried out around Christmas time. Great poem Mr. Collins.

    God bless us all-MJG. (Report) Reply

Read all 5 comments »

Poems About Imagine

  1. 1. Candle Hat , Billy Collins
  2. 2. My Imagination , Theo Williams
  3. 3. Do You? , unknown poet
  4. 4. ! Imagine Angels , Michael Shepherd
  5. 5. *_-~~ Imagine ~~-_* , Thad Wilk
  6. 6. Thurso’s Landing , Robinson Jeffers
  7. 7. Imagine , Jessica Robert
  8. 8. When The Whole World Goes Wrong , Anusha Subramanian
  9. 9. Imagine , Joe Rosochacki
  10. 10. Imagine , Leslie Alexis
  11. 11. 30 Years Too Late , Charlie F. Kane
  12. 12. A Committed Man In This Lagoon. , Thampi KEE
  13. 13. Happiness , ~ cari$ma ~ Dewan
  14. 14. I Am Hopelessly Hoping For You Sweetie , Nyota Yasulwe
  15. 15. Since You Are Far, I Imagine , Abhilash Pillai
  16. 16. Imagine , Joey Nissen
  17. 17. A Desire To Excel , Deependra Kumar Jha
  18. 18. Imagine , Vishal Sharma
  19. 19. ******missin' An Enemy******* , Sonia H.
  20. 20. Afterthought... , Aparna Chatterjee
  21. 21. (part 2) Imagine (Surreal Thoughts) , Nathan Strange
  22. 22. I Never Imagine, I See , Aftab Alam
  23. 23. The Afterlife: Letter To Sam Hamill , Hayden Carruth
  24. 24. Imagine , Abdul Wahab
  25. 25. Imagining Love , Fay Slimm
  26. 26. An Explanation Of America: A Love Of Death , Robert Pinsky
  27. 27. Winter Less Heaven. , Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
  28. 28. And Time The Green Unfurling Ferns Frond , Mark Heathcote
  29. 29. The World Of Poets , ramesh rai
  30. 30. I Can Not Imagine , Kasia Fedyk
  31. 31. Surprises 2 , David Harris
  32. 32. Imagine-An Erotic John Lennon Parody , Ramona Thompson
  33. 33. Imagine If The World Is Empty , MELVIN BANGGOLLAY
  34. 34. Children Of The Slums , Rii Abela
  35. 35. Imagination , ramesh rai
  36. 36. Being So. , Winnie Angel
  37. 37. Every Little Thing , Aislinn Armstrong
  38. 38. How I Let You Fool Me , Aislinn Armstrong
  39. 39. Imagine Lucifer , Jack Spicer
  40. 40. Imagine, You Are Not Here , gajanan mishra
  41. 41. He Is Great For Creating Sweet Sweetie , Nyota Yasulwe
  42. 42. Reverence , Johnny Ferrari
  43. 43. This Ballad, So Bold , Maurice Harris
  44. 44. Imagine , Tatyana 'Churlish Cherub' Al ..
  45. 45. Keep Well My Pot Of Honey! , Nyota Yasulwe
  46. 46. Life Without Love , Lora Colon
  47. 47. Fame , Sean Lee
  48. 48. To Bleed , Sweet Death
  49. 49. Two Volcanoes , Atef Ayadi
  50. 50. A Crazy Dream , JAMES T. ADAIR
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