The Lanyard Written By Billy Collins.

Text type: Poem

Latisha Halcrow 2.9

In the poem “The Lanyard” By Billy Collins makes it very clear about the message he is trying to get through to the audience. Collins was making us see things from the beginning to end of his poem. This is about a boy, as a grown man views his gift of the lanyard to his mother. This poem is shown the realization that you can never repay your mother, for what they have done, doing and gave us in our life. The character in this poem is caught up in his busy work life as grown up, he stumbles across the word “lanyard” in the dictionary which causes him to look back to his younger self-making a lanyard for his mother at a summer camp.

Collins was able to allow me to vision many of his descriptions in this poem, one that made me vision very clear was ” bouncing from typewriter to piano, from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor” I can see him going from his typewriter to the piano to the bookshelf on the other side of the room and then stumbling across the envelope on floor. Collins was very smart in the way he wrote this poem using strong language features in each sentence to help us create an image in the head to help understand the poem.

I strongly connect with the character in the poem because when I was a younger I used to make my mother things at after-school carers and school to say thank you or just for appreciation to her as well as the boy in the poem. At the beginning of the poem he quotes;  “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-clothes on my forehead, and then led me out into the air light.”  Meaning that the Mother had been by his side through all things, She brought him into this world giving him life and purpose. Also, this made me feel that not all people are capable to raise another or give in a way that can’t be repaid. This happens in real life when some parents try to raise kids with very little and can’t afford to care and provide them with the right education needed, this can create a child that doesn’t care for their mother nor think that they have any rules set for them, it can cause the child to feel unwanted and neglected if not cared for.

Collins makes me think of the strong Relationships between a mother and son for example in the text the mother quotes “here is a breathing body and a beating heart, strong legs, bones and teeth, and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered” This tells me that his mother really cares that his son is healthy and she is blessed with a healthy child. And that’s all that is important because if they have all those basics, for example, Love and attention nothing else matters, the family will feel like they have everything they need in life.

This text is easy for me to understand as I can relate to the character on a high level, it made me realize maybe I don’t show or tell my mother quite enough that I do appreciate her as she has given me a second chance at trying to make my life better for myself and getting somewhere in life. And if I wasn’t feeling this way, I think I would’ve disliked this text a lot instead of being engaged in it and relating to the poem.


Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Latisha, this is an honest, well-developed response. I am pleased that you have chosen aspects of the text that personally relate to you and that you have included your own experiences to support your ideas. Have a final read through this writing out loud, and strengthen the sentence structures and word choices in places.


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