Billy Collins

View From a Shrinking Floe
January 12, 2015 Collins Billy

View From a Shrinking Floe


Beyond the boats freed from the dripping ice

and all the bewildered sailors,

beyond the breadth of the melting tundra,


finally, the last polar bear

paddling away from us with its head raised,

a female, it was later discovered,


though she reminded me of my father,

his stark white hair toward the end

and the hands constantly moving on the tray of his chair.




Billy Collins’ latest collection is Musical Tables: Poems (Random House 2022). In 2017, he was admitted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.