Well, what would you expect on Friday the 13th except for me to run into all kinds of technical bad luck and snafus (snafu?), running me down to the last minute for uploading a video in time to qualify for day 13?
So in the spirit of bad luck here is a poem by Billy Collins, called Picnic Lightning from his book by the same title, pubished in 1998 by the University of Pittsburgh Press.
I should mention that for some reason I never saw the comma in the title of this poem until I went to read it tonight. I have only read this to myself once or twice in the past, and somehow it sounded funnier as Picnic Lightning. And yet adding the punctuation suddenly gives the title power, as it allows it to be a comment about cause and effect. No longer just an adjective and a noun, but an abbreviated sentence: “Picnic, lightning.” It’s a statement; we were having a picnic– she was struck by lightning. No wonder Collins was so inspired by the quote.
I have done a great many readings of Mr. Collins’ poems, as I am a big fan. I you would like to hear more of them please take a stroll through my YouTube Playlist of Billy Collins poems. I’ve included a few there that are not read by me, and one really great one of Billy reading at the White House.