poet Billy Collins

Billy Collins

#47 on top 500 poets

On Turning Ten

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I'm coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light--
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.

But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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On Turning Ten # 64 poem on top 500 Poems
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80 total ratings
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Comments about On Turning Ten by Billy Collins

  • a stressed teen (9/26/2020 7:49:00 PM)

    chile anyways so-stream " how you like that" by blackpink! ah

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  • a stressed teen (9/26/2020 7:46:00 PM)

    i hate highschool ughhh

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  • Funny bill (9/24/2020 11:20:00 AM)

    I read all of your comments and I would like to contribute by saying. On Turning Ten is a mournful poem by Billy Collins that shows the problems one faces when they become older in life. It is a negative overtone of the changes one starts witnessing when they transition to the age of ten within the family and social setting.

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  • not me said this below (9/11/2020 12:43:00 PM)

    dislike the vid pls......................

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  • zaniyah (9/11/2020 12:33:00 PM)

    this poem is not all that like it look hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

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  • commonsenseBruh (9/11/2020 8:40:00 AM)

    bro some these comments have no common sense it just talking about turning ten.

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  • sia jones (8/8/2020 7:19:00 AM)

    when is he write this poem..?

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  • lol i suck a literature (8/2/2020 3:44:00 AM)

    who is here from a link thier teacher sent them

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    7 person liked.
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  • Bigpoo (5/13/2020 2:59:00 PM)

    Honestly this sucks

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    3 person liked.
    9 person did not like.
  • chubg (4/27/2020 12:30:00 PM)

    this sucks lololololollololololol

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    anonymous(5/8/2020 1:57:00 PM)

    you at everything

    2 person liked.
    9 person did not like.
  • cat 3 (4/15/2020 10:16:00 PM)

    i love this poem and i was hoping yall would behave in the comments but maybe thats too much to ask

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    Limabeams(5/22/2020 2:53:00 PM)

    What did you expect?

    9 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Scamers be like.. (2/19/2020 11:04:00 AM)

    mAy i pLz GeT YoUr cRedIt CaRd InfoRmAtIon and PiN NuMbEr? ?

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    5 person liked.
    12 person did not like.
  • That one guy. (2/19/2020 11:00:00 AM)

    you guys dumb as

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    unknown(7/31/2020 4:59:00 AM)

    takes one to know one

    1 person liked.
    13 person did not like.
  • Trashman (2/12/2020 6:33:00 PM)

    I'm getting the vibe that everyone who comes to this cite is either a middle/high schooler who has a poetry assignment or a sad grandma

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    20 person liked.
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  • ur mom (2/5/2020 1:31:00 PM)

    yall are so funny... hahahaahahhaha

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    8 person did not like.
  • Big bAng 69 (2/4/2020 1:46:00 PM)

    This poem is poopy hehehej



    Ps: dont tell my mommy # savage

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    1 person liked.
    13 person did not like.
  • Probably one of the few sane people here (2/1/2020 2:29:00 PM)

    Is...everyone on here high? Or just plain idiotic, no seriously I have never seen such cringey comments

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    15 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • seventeen (1/29/2020 3:09:00 PM)

    you guys are really comedians, huh?

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    9 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Everyone in the comment section is a bit retarded (1/28/2020 10:46:00 AM)

    you all are dumb

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    3 person liked.
    10 person did not like.
  • screw boomers (12/17/2019 8:12:00 PM)

    ok boomer lmaoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

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    3 person liked.
    15 person did not like.



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