Poetry Friday: Happy Birthday to Billy Collins

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Thanks to Heidi for hosting Poetry Friday today.  What I love about our Poetry Friday community is that someone will have an idea and we will run with it.  Not only is Heidi hosting, she encouraged us to find a Billy Collins poem in honor of his birthday later this month.

I love this quote by him:

The first line is the DNA of the poem; the rest of the poem is constructed out of that first line. A lot of it has to do with tone because tone is the key signature for the poem. The basis of trust for a reader used to be meter and end-rhyme. Billy Collins

And there is a poem at The Poetry Foundation which I love.

The First Line of a Poem

Before it flutters into my mouth
I might spend days squinting
into the wind
Like an old man
trying to thread a needle
by a window
in the dying light of  late afternoon.

The rest of the poem is HERE.

At Deowriter, I took 10 words and wrote a first draft of a poem, At the First Light of Day

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Happy Friday.

Happy Poetry.

Poetry Friday:

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Poetry Friday all red, whie, and blue is at My Little Juicy Universe.

Happy Fourth of July. I discovered this poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson, born the same year as when Lewis and Clark left to search for the Northwest Passage. It seems a fitting poem for today.

A Nation’s Strength

Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803 – 1882

What makes a nation’s pillars high
And its foundations strong?
What makes it mighty to defy
The foes that round it throng?

It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand
Go down in battle shock;
Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,
Not on abiding rock.

Is it the sword? Ask the red dust
Of empires passed away;
The blood has turned their stones to rust,
Their glory to decay.

And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown
Has seemed to nations sweet;
But God has struck its luster down
In ashes at his feet.

Not gold but only men can make
A people great and strong;
Men who for truth and honor’s sake
Stand fast and suffer long.

Brave men who work while others sleep,
Who dare while others fly…
They build a nation’s pillars deep
And lift them to the sky.

I’m at friends in Idaho, my place to be on this holiday. Small town parade, a picnic in the park, and fireworks tonight. Have a wonderful weekend.
Happy Friday.
Happy poetry.