Humbled by the YouTube Tot

Humbled, that is how I feel after seeing this video of a three-year-old reciting a Billy Collins poem

Maybe I should be emboldened to believe that it is a human need to learn and recite poems, rather than some weird, exotic tick taking me over in my sixth decade. I tend of late to veer to the negative. Oh I have moments aplenty where my natural ebullience bubbles to the surface, but keeping my breath, thoughts and steps on the positive path has been a challenge.

And it should not be. I need to see that my children are doing well. They both are on the paths of their dreams and the people with whom they surround themselves are equally powerful, wise and kind. But I am straggling and struggling and looking for a validation, which I think lies in finding, currying and working a job, a real job. And although I know otherwise in the firm firmament of my personal solar system, with the economy, both the macro and micro in a kind of flounder, I keep straying from belief.

And so today in the pursuit of doing absolutely nothing but drinking black coffee and eating Oreos, yes health food, OK? I have spent the day listening to the rain, reading other people’s inspired words on race, on psychology or in literature and in between I have cheated on paper with technology. I am watching little snippet videos. I wish they had called UTUBE Snippet Videos I would have wanted to watch more. And in following the links sent to me by friends I found this tot spouting poetry and now he is yours as well.


So as a curious gal I went to see if Billy Collins  had read his own version of the poem, Litany.

Well of course he does and how wonderful to see that a modern poet takes what a three eyar old rpesents as reverent and makes it totally a satire and has an audience in stiches laughing. This is the essence of performance, fo live work, of an artist who doesn’t take himself seriously but who works seeing poetry as an everyday tools of wonderfulness however it inspires or leads to giggles.

And now for those of you who want to read it for yourself and make an interpretation.  Here it is.

LITANY by Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine…
-Jacques Crickillon

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman’s tea cup.
But don’t worry, I’m not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and–somehow–the wine.


One response to “Humbled by the YouTube Tot

  1. The most elegant attempt at differentiation I’ve read, boldly asserted as if accurate. Kind of like your job search?

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