Billy Collins

(22 March 1941 - / New York City)

For Bartleby The Scrivener - Poem by Billy Collins

"Every time we get a big gale around here
some people just refuse to batten down."

we estimate that

ice skating into a sixty
mile an hour wind, fully exerting
the legs and swinging arms

you will be pushed backward
an inch every twenty minutes.

in a few days, depending on
the size of the lake,
the backs of your skates
will touch land.

you will then fall on your ass
and be blown into the forest.

if you gather enough speed
by flapping your arms
and keeping your skates pointed

you will catch up to other
flying people who refused to batten down.
you will exchange knowing waves
as you ride the great wind north.


Comments about For Bartleby The Scrivener by Billy Collins

  • (12/15/2017 9:30:00 AM)


    What tripe! Yes, of course someone is going to be moved backwards on skates for several days! And then get blown into the air by the wind and wave to others who are unfortunate enough to find themselves in a Collins poem. If the skater were truly like Bartleby, he never would have put the skates on in the first place. He would have preferred NOT to go skating. (Report) Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Robert Bartlett (6/17/2017 11:30:00 PM)


    It did make me laugh! (Report) Reply

  • (5/25/2007 1:04:00 PM)


    Fly away Lesbian Seagull! oh wait wrong song... (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: people, wind, time



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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