Age of Jahiliyah

A blog of wide and varied interest, including Islam, Muslims, Poetry, Art and much more.

THE DEAD by Billy Collins

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 long 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.

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20 thoughts on “THE DEAD by Billy Collins

  1. Pingback: The Dead | Zachariah Torres

  2. Pingback: Stearns - 3/5-3/6–Creative Writing



  4. Pingback: Poésie Animée | It would be Nice

  5. Thanks Marko for the information! I’ve made the necessary changes.


  6. marko on said:

    you can see the “right” version on youtube

    just a word or two different…
    not “eating a stake”, but ” making a sandwich”..
    but anyway,it is a strong poem!


    • jessica hill on said:

      I am a strong Billy Collins fan I think all his poems are genuinly realistic in some type of way no matter the format. this is much better than the Twilight Saga books!!!!


  7. Neato. It kinda makes me forget things I can’t remember.


  8. karakedi on said:

    it is a beutiful poem.I can`t express at the moment how I feel myself .


  9. Hi Regina,

    Thanks for the link, and for stopping by our blog. We appreciate the positive encouragement, and we hope you stop by again 🙂

    Peace and the best to you!



  10. regina on said:

    so beautiful!
    have you seen the animation that goes with this poem? it’s linked to my friend’s poetry blog at

    it’s nice to hear the voices of intelligent muslim american women. thanks for the good blog.



  11. Hi Sangho,

    He is one of my favorite poets also 🙂 Thanks for stopping by our blog.


  12. I love to read the poems of Billy Collins including ‘The Dead’. It’s really glad to see the poet here.


  13. Hi Lucy,

    Glad you liked the poem. It was one of the first poems I read by Billy Collins, and I also liked it. Thanks for visiting our blog 🙂


  14. Hi, I’m from Hungary and unfortunately I haven’t heard about Billy Collins before, but now I really love his poems, and “The Dead” is one of my favourites.
    Thank you


  15. I’m glad it reminded you of your father Flo. Thanks for visiting our blog.


  16. Thank you. It made me think of my father…
    Thank you again


  17. Thanks Veris for your comments. It is a beautiful poem that gives hope. Thanks for your visit 🙂


  18. wow! that`s a beautiful poem, although i like a lot poe, but this poem makes me think about a friend, wich died of AIDS….. she must be in heaven, waiting for everybody who loved her, to close our eyes…… el arte está aquí, mis, a donde quiera que estés, pienso en tí y te extraño…..


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