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

  • Gold Star - 27,278 Points Susan Williams (12/19/2015 10:51:00 PM)

    Isn't it fun to treat famous creative people like they're just another human being only running amuk with talent and ingenuity! (Report) Reply

    4 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • 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

  • Rookie Luke Johnson (12/15/2009 7:50:00 PM)

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

Read all 6 comments »

Poems About Imagine

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