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As If to Demonstrate an Eclipse (by Billy Collins)

I pick an orange from a wicker basket
and place it on the table
to represent the sun.
Then down at the other end
a blue and white marble
becomes the earth
and nearby I lay the little moon of an aspirin.

I get a glass from a cabinet,
open a bottle of wine,
then I sit in a ladder-back chair,
a benevolent god presiding
over a miniature creation myth,

and I begin to sing
a homemade canticle of thanks
for this perfect little arrangement,
for not making the earth too hot or cold
not making it spin too fast or slow

so that the grove of orange trees
and the owl become possible,
not to mention the rolling wave,
the play of clouds, geese in flight,
and the Z of lightning on a dark lake.

Then I fill my glass again
and give thanks for the trout,
the oak, and the yellow feather,

singing the room full of shadows,
as sun and earth and moon
circle one another in their impeccable orbits
and I get more and more cockeyed with gratitude.


I just like this poem on the day of the eclipse in 2017. There’s just something about the thought of getting cockeyed with gratitude and letting the eclipse remind me of the gift of life that’s meant to be enjoyed.  It’s amazing after all that that we exist and that there is anything here at all.  That there could even be a grove of orange trees, or an owl or just the simply play of clouds on each and every extraordinary ordinary day of my life.  “Earth is crammed with heaven” and simple but profound reminders are everywhere that put it all into perspective and can fill me with gratitude at all the miracles that exist in my day, but that often go unnoticed by me.  How could that be?  Taking it all for granted.  Until I (we) wake up, notice and give thanks for it all.

And just one more thought…How small we are in the cosmic scheme of things – and yet how loved.  As Psalm 8:3-5 beautiful states:

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honor.

A prayer:  Change me O God into one who is becoming more and more cockeyed with gratitude, who lives more often in awe, wonder and amazement.