The Dead – Billy Collins

Charles Cowling

The Dead

The dead are always looking down on us, they say,
while we are putting on our shoes or making a sandwich,
they are looking down through the glass-bottom boats of heaven
as they row themselves slowly through eternity.

They watch the tops of our heads moving below on earth,
and when we lie down in a field or on a couch,
drugged perhaps by the hum of a warm afternoon,
they think we are looking back at them,

which makes them lift their oars and fall silent
and wait, like parents, for us to close our eyes.

7 thoughts on “The Dead – Billy Collins

  1. Charles Cowling
    Comfort Blanket

    I’m with Rupert. I came across this poem last year and loved it. But haven’t found quite the right moment to use it. One day soon…

    Charles Cowling
  2. Charles Cowling

    Alas, I am very sorry to say.

    Charles Cowling
  3. Charles Cowling
    Nestov Ratz

    “while we are putting on our shoes or making a sandwich”

    That’s just beautiful. If I didn’t know better I would think it was a lost work by William McGonagal, the tragedian of Dundee.

    Charles Cowling
  4. Charles Cowling

    Most awfully good to see you again, Nurse Myra!

    Charles Cowling
  5. Charles Cowling

    Wow – I hadn’t heard this before but I love it.

    And I’m delighted to finally be able to leave comments on your blog again!

    Charles Cowling
  6. Charles Cowling
    Rupert Callender

    I love this poem. Never had the nerve to use it in a ceremony.

    Charles Cowling
  7. Tweets that mention The Good Funeral Guide – The Dead – Billy Collins --

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