In this time of blossoms, especially, I am inclined to be grateful for being here, being alive, being among the company of poets and the poetically-minded who share the appreciation and the wonder.
“There’s a very deep strain of existential gratitude that runs through a lot of poetry. It’s certainly in haiku. Almost every haiku says the same thing: it’s amazing to be alive here. There’s a little haiku: ‘A cherry tree in blossom / In the distance / I hear a dog barking.’ Those two things have nothing to do with each other, except the fact that the poet was there to see and hear them. So the haiku is saying, I was here. 'Kilroy was here.' To appreciate the wonder of that, you have to imagine the absence of that, of not being there, of nonexistence, right? I consider poets to be a part of a larger group of people who don’t have to survive major surgery or go through a windshield in order to feel grateful for being alive. It shouldn’t require such traumatic experiences to feel grateful. So I think a love of language and a sense of gratitude would be two ingredients in the recipe for making a poet.”
—Billy Collins, interviewed by George Plimpton in The Paris Review, Fall 2001
image: Vincent Van Gogh, Blossoming Almond Tree