Philosophical Friday - Poem to ponder by Billy Collins

On the way in to work Thursday morning, I was listening to NPR and introduced to poet Billy Collins.  I was intrigued of course, and  looked him up.  Interesting man and even more interesting poetry. Not the usual and I guess that's what I like about him.  Not the usual.


 The Chairs That No One Sits In

by Billy Collins

You see them on porches and on lawns
down by the lakeside,
usually arranged in pairs implying a couple

who might sit there and look out
at the water or the big shade trees.
The trouble is you never see anyone

sitting in these forlorn chairs
though at one time it must have seemed   
a good place to stop and do nothing for a while.

Sometimes there is a little table
between the chairs where no one   
is resting a glass or placing a book facedown.

It might be none of my business,
but it might be a good idea one day
for everyone who placed those vacant chairs

on a veranda or a dock to sit down in them
for the sake of remembering
whatever it was they thought deserved

to be viewed from two chairs   
side by side with a table in between.
The clouds are high and massive that day.

The woman looks up from her book.
The man takes a sip of his drink.
Then there is nothing but the sound of their looking,

the lapping of lake water, and a call of one bird
then another, cries of joy or warning—
it passes the time to wonder which.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this poem with us. It's wonderful.

  2. Lovely poem! I had two chairs like that on my front porch when we were still living in a house (we're in an apartment now). I would sometimes sit in one and read while my boys played outside. But it gets so hot here in Tennessee in the summer that sitting outside is really not much fun. So my chairs often sat neglected just like the ones in the poem.

  3. Come summer, I have a swing in my backyard that I occupy as much as possible! But I rarely see my neighbors even when I'm outside so much. It is strange. I love this poem.

  4. @Vasilly - Hey gal, how's school going? I'm so glad I found out about him.

    @Michelle - Aw poor chairs and poor you. When the heat starts here, you'll find me early mornings out on the patio writing.

    @Margo - Yeah for the swing! So sad, people hide in their caves and don't enjoy nature. More for us!

  5. I loved this true is all of which he wrote! I often wonder about people too when I see patio furniture or stuff like that out in the backyard...

    P.S. I received my journals Thursday!
    Thanks again for your generosity!!

  6. Hi Robin, I'm from WestofMars Weekend Hangout! I really enjoyed reading this poem; very thought provoking.

  7. @Staci - glad you got the journals. I loved Reading Woman so much had to buy one for myself.

    @Maria - Thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed the poem.


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