Sonnet by Bill Knott

My heart lives in a bird cage made of bones. Sometimes I think it is not worth all the pain in the world to have this inside my body, to endure being wracked with pain at the tiniest things. But then comes along a poem that tries to rattle the life out of me, and suddenly I am grateful for the skin and flesh that holds this body, that keeps my heart from leaping out of my chest.

Bill Knott

The way the world is not
astonished at you
it doesn’t blink a leaf
when we step from the house
leads me to think
that beauty is natural, unremarkable
and not to be spoken of
except in the course of things
the course of singing and worksharing
the course of squeezes and neighbors
the course of you, tying back your raving hair to go out
and the course, of course, of me
astonished at you
the way the world is not.


    1. Bill –

      I have been using this poem in classes for years. I learned it when I was in a poetry class and Tess Gallagher asked us to memorize it. It has stayed in my heart forever. I have used it in English classes, writing classes, motivational presentations, and now, tonight, I will be reading it again for my Pilates class as I love to end class with just a little thought – – and seeing as today is Valentine’s Day, I must share what is in my heart. And, your poem is the thing that leaps out today asking to be shared. Thank you.



    2. You’re a madman Mr. Knott. The best possible kind though. The Delux T. Lux wouldn’t be in the game without you, nor I without him. You’re the only one who could write Bill Knott poems.


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