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Litany Analysis



Author: poem of Billy Collins Type: poem Views: 1

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        You are the bread and the knife,

        The crystal goblet and the wine...

        -Jacques Crickillon




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.





Anonymous submission.






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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

I see it as the lovers being complements of each other. She is so many things: he has found is bread and the knife." So wonderful. She is both the sustenance and they way to receive it. But, he is "the shooting star,the evening paper blowing down an alley and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table," along with other things. And, neither of them are "not the wind in the orchard,the plums on the counter,or the house of cards." We are not all things to all people. It does not make our love less perfect.

| Posted on 2015-10-08 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem is a critique of love poetry disguised as a love poem. Collins uses litany to make a joke of love poetry.

| Posted on 2015-07-02 | by a guest


.: :.

It is more comical to me than anything. He is totally making fun metaphors by writing a 'litany' of them. He has a good time with them as he pokes a little fun at (I presume) his wife. It is more about his observations of the relationship than love. He loves her, yes, but that isn't the point. The pine scented air line is hilarious example of the funny style. He portrays himself as such a romantic! Gotta love it.

| Posted on 2015-01-22 | by a guest


.: :.

he uses a lot of metaphor to express his love to his beloved woman. We can realize by reading that he feels that she sustains him.

| Posted on 2014-10-15 | by a guest


.: :.

It's ALL HERE folks... as the POET HIMSELF explains and reads this x

| Posted on 2014-07-27 | by a guest


.: :.

I think that even though the poet may not think people should take his work seriously, anyone can interpret the poem anyway they like. The one answer where it talks about the difference between woman and man, I think that\'s a wonderful interpretation. It certainly gives the poem more colors than just saying it shouldn\'t be taken seriously .

| Posted on 2013-01-25 | by a guest


.: :.

Even if his poems don\'t mean anything, 50% of my english grade depends on them meaning something. So for heaven\'s sake, SOMEONE give me something I can use!!!

| Posted on 2013-01-24 | by a guest


.: :.

I read the poem Litany and felt it to be brilliant in all aspects concerning Love. Truly the differences between men and women surface here in a much more realistic approach, to a relationship and an expression of everlasting love. For he tells his beloved you are the bread and the knife, here served as metaphors for the fact she sustains him. Then to go on and further more give his beloved the credit that she is his wine, and crystal goblet: meaning she makes him high with her love and she is his everything with pleasures. Then he goes to add that YES, she may not be his everything, in saying she is not a cornflower field at dusk, and on and on. Yet, then he goes to add: Which is the most brilliant part of the entire poem, that he refers to the fact he actually is the cup the blind woman drinks from: so here he is telling her: it doesn\'t matter if you are blind to our love, I still am your cup and nourish you and care for you in sickness and health. He goes onto that he is many things to many in the marketplace perhaps through the fact he is the evening paper down an alley. Yet: she sustains him for certain: through the fact she is for sure the bread and knife and wine in the crystal goblet: and therefore this is his devotions to their everlasting love.

| Posted on 2012-09-22 | by a guest


.: :.

One of the definitons of \"Litany\" is a prolonged or tedious account, so just be reading the title you can realize that the poem isn\'t to be taken too seriously. Trying to pull some deep, profounf meaning out of this would be a waste of time- as some other people have said, \"Litany\" is satirical. Do yourself a favor and stop trying to see it for something it\'s not.

| Posted on 2012-04-11 | by a guest


.: :.

Billy collins is aiming for humor. He wants to show who the speaker and the person spoken too are compared to the natural work...\"speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,\" see!

| Posted on 2012-02-28 | by a guest


.: :.

Billy collins is aiming for humor. He wants to show who the speaker and the person spoken too are compared to the natural work...\"speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,\" see!

| Posted on 2012-02-28 | by a guest


.: :.

Guys, you need to become more familiar with Collins\' style of poetry, or perhaps poetry in general. When have you ever heard a flattering imagery poem where the speaker lists attributes that the object does not possess? Furthermore, when have you heard a speaker list his own attributes? The images are completely arbitrary. This is satirical of the sappy tripe that is usually found in this style of poetry.
I\'m sorry if I\'ve ruined this poem for anyone, but Collins is not supposed to be taken seriously... In fact, in one of his other poems he actually asks readers not to take him too seriously.

| Posted on 2011-04-14 | by a guest


.: :.

Here is a link to the author and his complete explanation of the poem. Best to go to the source x

| Posted on 2011-01-02 | by a guest


.: :.

The previous posts concerning the interpretation of this poem are completely misguided and BOGUS. It is a satire of the archaic poetic convention used in odes and sonnets where the authors would repetitively use meaningless imagery to compare their beloved subject to. Prime example, Shakespeare\'s \"My mistress\' eyes are nothing like the sun\".
So put that in your pipe and smoke it.

| Posted on 2010-11-16 | by a guest


.: :.

My teacher said it was about empowerment, what do you think? I don\'t see it.

| Posted on 2010-11-03 | by a guest


.: :.

It\'s a love poem to genitalia. Why even analyze it? Enjoy it.

| Posted on 2010-09-05 | by a guest


.: :.

As with many of his poems, Collins aims for irony and humor. In this poem, he is playing with the multitude of compliments someone might say to a lover, comparing them to any number of items via metaphor.

| Posted on 2009-11-30 | by a guest


.: litany, billy collins :.

hi,
I WOULD LIKE AN ANALISIS OF THE BILLY COLLINS POEM, LITANY; I think that it's a mean poem, my husband think it's a nice love poem. I think it holds jalousy and superiority complex, pretention, terror; the narrator is putting interlocutor under him like a rival or so. Please send me everything you have on that particular poem, please.
Thank you very much

| Posted on 2008-03-17 | by a guest


.: litany, billy collins :.

hi,
I WOULD LIKE AN ANALISIS OF THE BILLY COLLINS POEM, LITANY; I think that it's a mean poem, my husband think it's a nice love poem. I think it holds jalousy and superiority complex, pretention, terror; the narrator is putting interlocutor under him like a rival or so. Please send me everything you have on that particular poem, please.
Thank you very much

| Posted on 2008-03-17 | by a guest




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