Tiny tot channels Billy Collins

I’m not sure what is more enchanting — precocious pre-K kids or Billy Collins’ poetry. And now, just to blow my mind, the internet has bestowed upon us this video of a three-year-old boy reciting “Litany” by Billy Collins. I could watch this over and over. The words are so crisp and beautiful, and the way the child recites them is mesmerizing. Props to whoever gave birth to and raised this child! Oh yeah, and everyone should read Billy Collins’ poems. Every day.

“Litany” by Billy Collins
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.


3 responses to “Tiny tot channels Billy Collins

  1. Okay…so I thought it was just me that thought this was freaking AMAZING! I’m so glad I’m NOT alone in that:) Thank you for posting these words…they are mezmerizing. And this child…he is simply a shooting star (with a long prosperous life ahead of him:). Thanks again, darling girl!

    ps: his clarity actually reminds me of you at that age:)

  2. Educator: Is this rare? Or can all 3-year-old children recite poetry like this?

  3. This is super-rare! But, honestly, if we encouraged more little kids to do things like this in a fun and nurturing environment, I think we would be surprised at how many could pull it off. This kid definitely has a gift in language, but so do lots of other kids. Think of all the kids who memorize their favorite storybooks.

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