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On Hearing the Poet Laureate
by Doris Leuth Stengel

Billy Collins slouches to the microphone,
balding and not beautiful,
until he reads,
then his words satisfy
like cherry nut ice cream
his verbs wave tall and proud—
red, white and blue.

His poems skip merrily
across the page,
at times, belly laughing,
at times, slipping on a rueful tear.

It's like a trip
in our Plymouth station wagon
with three kids and a dog,
a chaos of sounds,
a carload of love.

In the New Jersey autumn air
he revives poetry,
spins out lines like salt water taffy,
puts verses on roller skates,
and we hang on to his belt for the ride,
caught up in a benevolent
hurricane of poetry.

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