Movie Mom

Movie Mom

A Mother’s Day Tribute from Former Poet Laureate Billy Collins

posted by Nell Minow

The Lanyard – Billy Collins

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.


I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.


Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

Previous Posts

Trailer: A Bigger Splash with Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, and Dakota Johnson
[youtube][/youtube] The lives of a famous rock star and a filmmaker, (Tilda Swinton and Matthias Schoenaerts) vacationing on the idyllic sun-drenched and remote Italian island of Pantelleria are ...

posted 8:00:25am Oct. 03, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Adam LaVorgna of "Masterless"
Adam LaVorgna became an actor very young and was in the cast of the television series "Brooklyn Bridge" and "7th Heaven" before he was out of his teens. He loved the cast but he felt lost. He tried to use drugs to feel better and tried rehab ...

posted 2:58:01pm Oct. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Lauren Bradshaw's "Martian"-inspired Google Searches
I love this wonderful article by my friend and fellow critic, Lauren Bradshaw, about the ten Google searches she made after viewing "The Martian." ...

posted 10:13:33am Oct. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Goran Visnjic of "The Journey Home"
Goran Visnjic stars in the family movie adventure The Journey Home, with Dakota Goyo as an Canadian boy who is determined to bring a polar bear cub back to its mother. The scenery is spectacular and the story is heartwarming and exciting. I ...

posted 8:17:43am Oct. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Exclusive Clip: Golden Shoes
[jwvideo vid='KiRrH2Wm' pid='GvkPWNBE'] We are delighted to present an exclusive clip from the new family movie about soccer, "Golden Shoes." As long as he could remember, eight-year-old Christian Larou (Christian Koza) dreamed of being a ...

posted 8:00:46am Oct. 02, 2015 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.