The Country–by Billy Collins
Billy Collins was the poet laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003. He has written many books and is known for his sense of humor as well as taking the everyday and mundane and making it seem magical. Not too long ago, he was recorded reading some of his poems and artists did some remarkable animations for the poems. Watch the video below and you can also read along with poem below.
Click here to watch the video if it is not showing above: The Country
I wondered about you
when you told me never to leave
a box of wooden, strike-anywhere matches
lying around the house because the mice
might get into them and start a fire.
But your face was absolutely straight
when you twisted the lid down on the round tin
where the matches, you said, are always stowed.
Who could sleep that night?
Who could whisk away the thought
of the one unlikely mouse
padding along a cold water pipe
behind the floral wallpaper
gripping a single wooden match
between the needles of his teeth?
Who could not see him rounding a corner,
the blue tip scratching against a rough-hewn beam,
the sudden flare, and the creature
for one bright, shining moment
suddenly thrust ahead of his time –
now a fire-starter, now a torchbearer
in a forgotten ritual, little brown druid
illuminating some ancient night.
Who could fail to notice,
lit up in the blazing insulation,
the tiny looks of wonderment on the faces of his fellow mice, onetime inhabitants
of what once was your house in the country?