Here's a slightly more formal poem - it's a sonnet of some kind, it's not in that book. But I mention...you remember Petrarch who's kind of one of the Italian founders of the sonnet and I mention his sweetheart, Laura, to whom he addressed all of his love sonnets. And I just call the poem sonnet.
All we need is fourteen lines, well, thirteen now,
and after this one just a dozen
to launch a little ship on love’s storm-tossed seas,
then only ten more left like rows of beans.
How easily it goes unless you get Elizabethan
and insist the iambic bongos must be played
and rhymes positioned at the ends of lines,
one for every station of the cross.
But hang on here while we make the turn
into the final six where all will be resolved,
where longing and heartache will find an end,
where Laura will tell Petrarch to put down his pen,
take off those crazy medieval tights,
blow out the lights, and come at last to bed.
From Sailing Alone Around the Room (Random House, 2001), © Billy Collins 2001 used by permission of the author and the publisher; Recording from Billy Collins Live: A Performance at the Peter Norton Symphony Space (Random House, USA, 2005).