Thursday, March 2, 2017

Billy's Birthday

In Barcelona a poetry competition is held every year. There are three prizes: The third prize is a rose made of silver, the second prize is a golden rose, and the first prize: a rose. A real rose. The flower itself. Think of that the next time the term “priorities” comes up.
~Billy Collins

So happy to be wishing Billy Collins a happy 76th birthday on March 22nd! I wish I could give him a real rose. Instead, I brought a poem.

Radio Weather
by Tabatha Yeatts

On the morning drive to school,
the quiet of the rising sun is broken only
by the voice of D.G. giving the weather report,
which, surprising for a weather report,
makes me laugh,
and makes my kids laugh,
who know better than to turn the station when D.G. is talking,
because, not only is he knowledgeable
about the composers, conductors, and soloists,
he seems like even he is never sure what he is going to say next
when he starts talking about things like the weather,
and that is pretty much the only kind of surprise I like.
Like poet Billy Collins, he has a
reassuring here we are together voice,
and a what can you do, there it is laugh
He only tells me the songs and the weather,
but I always think if there's bad news,
I want him to give it.


My Juicy Little Universe has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Heidi!


Sally Murphy said...

What a lovely tribute to Billy Collins, Tabatha - and to D.G. Sounds like my kind of radio station :)

Jane @ Raincity Librarian said...

I love that last line. In the hands, or the voice, of the right person, the jagged edges of even the worst news can be smoothed and dulled!

Anonymous said...

Loved the familiarness of these lines in your poem Tabitha, "reassuring here we are together voice,
and a what can you do, there it is laugh." And real rose, that's definitely the best!

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Yay! A Billy-original! I'm curious, was that already in your files somewhere, given the driving-children scene? And I'm curious--who is that mysterious DG, and why hide his name when you mention Billy's ? You are spot on about the voice, the friendly, casually surprised-at-himself voice which gets me over and over even though I should know what's about to happen, building safe little bridges over dangerous crevasses of the human condition.

I love "pretty much the only kind of surprise I like". Thank you for joining in.

Tabatha said...

Thanks for the comments, all! Heidi, I wrote this after you put out the request. I'm still driving E to RM this year, and I drove D and E last year. I like "safe little bridges over dangerous crevasses of the human condition."

Donna Smith said...

I love that real rose, and priorities quote. Really something to think about.
And your weather reporter sounds like a soothing, humorous, down-to-earth kind of person and deserving of his own poem! Thanks for sharing this today, Tabatha!

Irene Latham said...

Dear Tab, I love the opening quote, which I had never heard/read! And thank you for your poem. It reminds me of some advice I got a few years ago when my gynecologist retired and I was searching for a new one. A friend said, "You need someone who can tell you you have cancer." That sounds very dire, but it's true: we all need someone who can give us bad news in the most pleasant way possible. xo

Linda B said...

Oh my, that opening quote is wonderful to hear about, Tabatha. And your poem makes a conversation with Billy's poems, perfect. I love "reassuring here we are together voice," Sounds like a good drive every day.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Such a wonderful, comforting, honest-to-goodness-truth-of-day-to-day-life poem, Tabatha! You get my rose.

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

What Michelle said! A fine tribute to an incredible fellow. And a perfect last line!

jama said...

Love your poem; you captured the "just right" we all love about Billy's poems. That's some weather report, too! Last line soars. :)

Ruth said...

It's true - bad news DOES come better in certain voices. I love your poem!

Mary Lee said...

You perfectly captured BC's conversational tone/cadence and his close reporting of details -- like the live rose -- that make his poems (and yours) sing.

Tara said...

I love the way you captured Billy's voice, and yet kept the poem all your own. Beautifully done, Tabatha!

Margaret Simon said...

I think Billy Collins would appreciate the rose as well as the comparison to your weather man. Love your poem and the image of a single moment in time with the kids in the car laughing at the weather report. Yes!

Brenda at FriendlyFairyTales said...

I always thought James Earl Jones had a voice that I would want to be the last thing I hear on this earth. I like that you immortalize a similar feeling in a poem.

Linda Mitchell said...

And, what a beautiful gift your poem is to BC and to us. WE are all in this together...with poetry. Wow. Have a great week, Tabatha.

Violet N. said...

Very fine, Tabatha, and so you1 I do love your characterization of BC's voice. Yes, exactly. ~ Hope you hear only good weather and good news today.

Robyn Hood Black said...

...and I always love reading whatever the topic of the day is filtered through YOUR voice, Tabatha - thanks for all this week! XO

GatheringBooks said...

Hi Tabatha, I really love those last few lines:
Like poet Billy Collins, he has a
reassuring here we are together voice,
and a what can you do, there it is laugh
He only tells me the songs and the weather,
but I always think if there's bad news,
I want him to give it.
Thank you for this beautiful tribute.