On Turning Ten Poem by Billy Collins

On Turning Ten

Rating: 4.0


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.

On Turning Ten
COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Jerri Elliott 24 February 2012

I LLLOOOOVVVVEEEE THIS POEM! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! I have nothing bad to say! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

115 85 Reply
Joseph Pedulla 25 October 2016

You love too easily.

6 3 Reply
urmom 07 June 2022

i have something bad to say about your search history

4 1 Reply
Jeremiah Cox 23 December 2011

I must admit this is one helluvan idea. I wonder if it could have been written in the language of ten. Compare with Christmas Tree by e.e.cummings.

60 113 Reply
Joseph Pedulla 25 October 2016

Yeah, he certainly sounds as though he has the mind of a ten-year-old!

0 7 Reply
adam 01 September 2022

it was mid

1 1 Reply
liam jekel 25 August 2022

email me lemonfood9000gmail.com

1 2 Reply
Singaporean dude 01 August 2022

I got this poem for my test.

1 1 Reply
Ruby lox 25 May 2022

I love it

0 1 Reply
ygtfrdeswazxtdcyftvuy 16 May 2022

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1 1 Reply
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