The Good Funeral Guide Blog

The Dead – Billy Collins

Thursday, 3 February 2011

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.

6 comments on “The Dead – Billy Collins

  1. Comfort Blanket

    Monday 7th February 2011 at 5:06 pm

    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…

  2. Thursday 3rd February 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Alas, I am very sorry to say.

  3. Thursday 3rd February 2011 at 10:24 pm

    “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.

  4. Thursday 3rd February 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Most awfully good to see you again, Nurse Myra!

  5. Thursday 3rd February 2011 at 8:25 pm

    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!

  6. Thursday 3rd February 2011 at 4:46 pm

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

  7. Thursday 3rd February 2011 at 11:29 am

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