Billy Collins

(22 March 1941 - / New York City)

Fishing On The Susquehanna In July - Poem by Billy Collins

I have never been fishing on the Susquehanna
or on any river for that matter
to be perfectly honest.

Not in July or any month
have I had the pleasure -- if it is a pleasure --
of fishing on the Susquehanna.

I am more likely to be found
in a quiet room like this one --
a painting of a woman on the wall,

a bowl of tangerines on the table --
trying to manufacture the sensation
of fishing on the Susquehanna.

There is little doubt
that others have been fishing
on the Susquehanna,

rowing upstream in a wooden boat,
sliding the oars under the water
then raising them to drip in the light.

But the nearest I have ever come to
fishing on the Susquehanna
was one afternoon in a museum in Philadelphia,

when I balanced a little egg of time
in front of a painting
in which that river curled around a bend

under a blue cloud-ruffled sky,
dense trees along the banks,
and a fellow with a red bandana

sitting in a small, green
flat-bottom boat
holding the thin whip of a pole.

That is something I am unlikely
ever to do, I remember
saying to myself and the person next to me.

Then I blinked and moved on
to other American scenes
of haystacks, water whitening over rocks,

even one of a brown hare
who seemed so wired with alertness
I imagined him springing right out of the frame.


Comments about Fishing On The Susquehanna In July by Billy Collins

  • (6/12/2018 10:46:00 PM)


    This poem is very nice. keep up writing them. Please write more fishing poems Billy (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (9/28/2014 5:54:00 PM)


    Nice description of a painting..I guess you very inspired by another artist's works..makes that person a Muse..I enjoy your poetry.. (Report) Reply

  • Brian Jani (5/17/2014 2:49:00 PM)


    Billy A beautifully written poem. Keep it up (Report) Reply

  • (3/19/2014 11:01:00 AM)


    ........my favourite stanzas...enjoyed much..
    under a blue cloud-ruffled sky,
    dense trees along the banks,
    and a fellow with a red bandana

    sitting in a small, green
    flat-bottom boat
    holding the thin whip of a pole.
    (Report) Reply

  • (3/18/2006 8:42:00 PM)


    Nicely done and so much fun. Good poem and best regards-Mike Gale. (Report) Reply

Read all 5 comments »



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Read poems about / on: fishing, july, river, water, woman, remember, green, red, sky, light, fish, women, spring, tree



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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