Poems for Challenging Times 6

It has been wisely said that writing is as simple as going slowly enough to notice things and stopping long enough to put them down in words. It’s just that most people don’t take take time to do either. Billy Collins’ ‘Morning’ pays careful attention to everyday detail, somehow transforming the ordinary into a sacrament of the present moment. Very specific passing moments like the feel of feet on a cold floor are celebrated alongside trees that have weathered a century.

The speaker is very much a morning person, but opens with something of a loaded question. How would you answer it? Are those first hours the best for you, or is there another time of day/night that you cherish? That is characterised by its own rituals or routine actions, sensory experience and feelings? In extraordinary times it is sometimes the ordinary things that become particularly precious. Take some time to note down some elements of your everyday that you want to savour rather than allow to pass you by.

As you enjoy this poem, you may want to respond with your own about your favourite time of day, or pen a more direct reply to its take on mornings, perhaps in the form of a letter to the poet.



Why do we bother with the rest of the day,

the swale of the afternoon,

the sudden dip into evening,


then night with his notorious perfumes,

his many-pointed stars?


This is the best—

throwing off the light covers,

feet on the cold floor,

and buzzing around the house on espresso—


maybe a splash of water on the face,

a palmful of vitamins—

but mostly buzzing around the house on espresso,


dictionary and atlas open on the rug,

the typewriter waiting for the key of the head,

a cello on the radio,


and, if necessary, the windows—

trees fifty, a hundred years old

out there,

heavy clouds on the way

and the lawn steaming like a horse

in the early morning.

                                                                             Billy Collins



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  • About Julia


    From writing stories for my younger brother, to penning poems for the School Magazine and filling a growing pile of personal journals, the written word has always been part of my life’s journey.

    I started out as an English Teacher and subsequently retrained as a Counsellor. I have counselled in a GP Surgery and worked with various Employee Assistance Schemes and Charitable Trusts alongside seeing private clients.

    Although I have done some freelance journalism and written four non-fiction books, creative writing has become my main focus in recent years.

    My poems have appeared online on sites including Amaryllis, Silver Birch Press, Clear Poetry, Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis, Riggwelter and Ink,Sweat and Tears. I have been published in Curlew and Bucks Mill Magazine, and anthologised in Our Hearts Still Sing. My first poetry collection, Chester City Walls, came out in 2015.

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