I adore Billy Collins because he makes me laugh. Here's an excerpt from "The Lanyard," in The Trouble With Poetry, in which Collins talks about how cool we think it is when me make a craft at scout camp or wherever and then present it proudly to our mothers. He contrasts all of the things his mother did for him with the present he gave her. This is an excerpt from the middle of the poem:
. . .
She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sickroom,
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
set 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.
. . .
Hey, thanks to Angela for finding the link to the entire poem. Click on the title above and you can read it all.