Billy Collins On “I Love You”

e5c029c9-36ca-4a37-93ba-f90f0e1e0d42Billy Collins (March 22, 1941 -)

Early on, I noticed that you always say it
to each of your children
as you are getting off the phone with them
just as you never fail to say it
to me whenever we arrive at the end of a call.
It’s all new to this only child.
I never heard my parents say it,
at least not on such a regular basis,
nor did it ever occur to me to miss it.
To say I love you pretty much every day
would have seemed strangely obvious,
like saying I’m looking at you
when you are standing there looking at someone.
If my parents had started saying it
a lot, I would have started to worry about them.
Of course, I always like hearing it from you.
That is never a cause for concern.
The problem is I now find myself saying it back
if only because just saying good-bye
then hanging up would make me seem discourteous.
“But like Bartleby, I would prefer not to
say it so often, would prefer instead to save it
for special occasions, like shouting it out as I leaped
into the red mouth of a volcano
with you standing helplessly on the smoking rim,
or while we are desperately clasping hands
before our plane plunges into the Gulf of Mexico,
which are only two of the examples I had in mind,
but enough, as it turns out, to make me
want to say it to you right now,
and what better place than in the final couplet
of a poem where, as every student knows, it really counts.”

Yusef Komunyakaa On Poetry


1B7D07B9-1496-4CBD-A6F5-880C019CEF7EYusef Komunyakaa
(April 29, 1941 -)

Attempt to write every day, to read everything, to listen, to be in the world, to challenge ideas and to question ourselves. Because it’s not just poetry; it’s the experience of inquiry…

Be aware of the small things in the world, not necessarily the monumental things. The small things add up to a monumental reality.

Tao Writer On Stand Undiminished

B56E5F81-883D-4D7A-8545-E49C6A2562D1Tao Writer (April 17, 1948 -)

It means every element of your being has the power, the permission, the blessings of the blessed, to seek and befriend on every path, road, mountain passage, or astral plane the limitless aspects of you. It means to be and to accept all that you are and are not with grace not shame, with love, and not distain. It means to overcome the power of your own fear, to be the light you are, and to stand in full sail to the wind at every juncture of your life. It means not to be contained by any system, especially your own. It means to live knowing this life is a gift to you, to me, and to all kind.

Dwight D. Eisenhower On The Military Industrial Complex

4A6120CD-55C4-4E65-BF8F-786489FC9EC6President Dwight D. Eisenhower (October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969)

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Martin Luther King on Non-Violence

1c045-martin-luther-kingMartin L. King (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)

I think though that we can be sure that the vast majority of Negroes who engage in the demonstrations and who understand the nonviolent philosophy will be able to face dogs and all of the other brutal methods that are used without retaliating with violence, because they understand that one of the first principles of nonviolence is a willingness to be the recipient of violence, while never inflicting violence on another.

Wisława Szymborska On Inspiration

25bcb-img_1669Wisława Szymborska  (July 2, 1923–February 1, 2012)

It’s not that they’ve never known the blessing of this inner impulse. It’s just not easy to explain something to someone else that you don’t understand yourself…Inspiration is not the exclusive privilege of poets or artists generally. There is, has been, and will always be a certain group of people whom inspiration visits. It’s made up of all those who’ve consciously chosen their calling and do their job with love and imagination. It may include doctors, teachers, gardeners — and I could list a hundred more professions. Their work becomes one continuous adventure as long as they manage to keep discovering new challenges in it. Difficulties and setbacks never quell their curiosity. A swarm of new questions emerges from every problem they solve. Whatever inspiration is, it’s born from a continuous “I don’t know.”

Susan Faludi On Feminism

26E4ABF1-EA5D-4E02-896E-7F7C8E5167D0Susan Faludi (April 18, 1959 -)

I don’t see how you can be a feminist and not think about men. In order for women to live freely, men have to live freely, too. Being a feminist opens your eyes to the ways men, like women, are imprisoned in cultural stereotypes.