A poem to read in the bath… ‘The Death of the Hat’

Billy Collins is a favourite poet of mine, he is so good at making the ordinary everyday things suddenly become personal and touching. So true.

Billy Collins

[photo: poetryfoundation.org]

Because of copyright restrictions I am unable to reproduce the poem in full, but please search it out in an anthology or at your local library.

‘The Death of the Hat’
Once every man wore a hat.

In the ashen newsreels,
the avenues of cities
are broad rivers flowing with hats.

The ballparks swelled
with thousands of strawhats,
brims and bands,
rows of men smoking
and cheering in shirtsleeves.

Hats were the law.
They went without saying.
You noticed a man without a hat in a crowd.

I challenge you to read the very last stanza [not shown here] without a tear in your eye as he transitions from hats to the loss of a loved one.

Read two other poems by Billy Collins which I love:-
The Dead
On Turning Ten

Billy Collins


Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes’ by Billy Collins [UK: Picador] 

Read these other excerpts, and perhaps find a new poet to love:-
‘Japanese Maple’ by Clive James
‘My Heart Leaps Up’ by William Wordsworth
‘Oxfam’ by Carol Ann Duffy

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
A #poem to read in the bath: ‘The Death of the Hat’ by Billy Collins via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-26r