The Lanyard Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


The other day as I was ricocheting slowlyA
off the blue walls of this roomB
bouncing from typewriter to pianoC
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floorD
I found myself in the 'L' section of the dictionaryA
where my eyes fell upon the word LanyardE
No cookie nibbled by a French novelistF
could send one more suddenly into the pastG
A past where I sat at a workbenchH
at a camp by a deep Adirondack lakeI
learning how to braid thin plastic strips into a lanyardE
A gift for my motherJ
I had never seen anyone use a lanyardE
Or wear one if that's what you did with themK
But that did not keep me from crossing strand over strandL
again and again until I had made a boxy red and white lanyard for my motherJ
She gave me life and milk from her breastsM
and I gave her a lanyardE
She nursed me in many a sick roomB
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lipsN
set cold facecloths on my foreheadO
then led me out into the airy lightP
and taught me to walk and swim and I in turn presented her with a lanyardE
'Here are thousands of meals' she saidO
'and here is clothing and a good education 'Q
'And here is your lanyard ' I repliedR
'which I made with a little help from a counselor 'Q
'Here is a breathing body and a beating heartS
strong legs bones and teeth and two clear eyes to read the world ' she whisperedE
'And here ' I said 'is the lanyard I made at camp 'Q
'And here ' I wish to say to her nowT
'is a smaller gift Not the archaic truthU
that you can never repay your motherJ
but the rueful admission that when she took the two toned lanyard from my handsV
I was as sure as a boy could beA
that this useless worthless thing I wove out of boredomW
would be enough to make us even 'Q

Billy Collins


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