Night Letter to the Reader


Night Letter to the Reader

I get up from the tangled bed and go outside,

A bird leaving its nest,

A snail taking a holiday from its shell,

But only to stand on the lawn,

An ordinary insomniac

Amid the growth systems of garden and woods.

If I were younger, I might be thinking

About something I heard at a party,

About an unusual car,

Or the press of Saturday night,

But as it is, I am simply conscious,

An animal in pajamas,

Sensing only the pale humidity

of the night and the slight zephyrs

that stir the tops of the trees.

The dog has followed me out

and stands a little ahead,

her nose lifted as if she were inhaling

the tall white flowers,

visible tonight in the darkened garden,

and there was something else I wanted to tell you,

something about the warm orange light

in the windows of the house,

but now I am wondering if you are even listening

and why I bother to tell you these things

that will never make a difference,

flecks of ash, tiny chips of ice.

But this is all I want to do -----

tell you that up in the woods

a few night birds were calling,

the grass was cold and wet on my bare feet,

and that at one point, the moon,

looking like the top of Shakespeare’s

famous forehead,

appeared, quite unexpectedly,

illuminating a band of moving clouds.

~ Billy Collins

billy collins, poem