Essay on Analysis Of The Poem ' Litany ' By Billy Collins

1388 Words Jan 3rd, 2015 6 Pages
“Litany,” a short poem by Billy Collins, represents Collins’ view on traditional love poetry. By taking Jacques Crickillon’s poem “You are the bread and the knife,/ the crystal goblet and the wine,” and rewriting it with a commentary regarding how it would better suit his lover, Collins is criticizing the often arbitrary-seeming phrases and flowery prose of standard romantic poetry. However, its criticism does not take away its meaning. In fact, the language Collins chooses while adapting the poem, his specific changes to the poem’s metaphors, his clever comparisons between his lover and himself, and his final acceptance of his lover’s imperfections all, in the end, offer a more realistic and personal vision of romance to the poem’s subject than Crickillon’s original piece did. One of the most noticeable parts of Collins’ criticism of love poetry can be seen in his language. Collins intersperses beautifully constructed sentences like “You are the dew on the morning grass/and the burning wheel of the sun,” with average, everyday expressions like “there is just no way,” “it is possible,” “maybe even”, and “not even close.” These phrases are more likely to be overheard as one walks down the street, not as one reads Shakespeare, and they rudely interrupt the romantic flow of the poem. Collins means to do this deliberately. Most real romance is not Shakespeare, and the majority of couples don’t fall in love through eloquent speeches. They talk with each other casually to…

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