The Lanyard by Billy Collins

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.Since this is Favorite Poets Week, I’m sharing my favorite poem by my favorite poet. “The Lanyard” reminds me of all the useless gifts I was compelled to make for my mother during summer camps and art classes.

A perfect example is the ash tray I made for her during a pottery class at the YMCA she encouraged me to take when I was in seventh grade. I can’t describe it except to say it looked like something the cat dragged in. She may never have used it, but it’s the thought that counts, right?



How about you? Did you ever make anything for your mother? How did it turn out? Did she ever use it?


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Author: abbiejohnsontaylor

I'm the author of two novels,, two poetry collections, and a memoir with another novel on the way. My work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. I'm visually impaired and live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my totally blind late husband who was paralyzed by two strokes. Please visit my website at

6 thoughts on “The Lanyard by Billy Collins”

  1. Hi Abbie. Great post.
    Yes, I used to make crafts for my mom in school and at camp.
    In crafts at school, I learned to weave pot holders, and hot mats.
    Mom used those lots.
    Always made me proud to have them on the table during the holidays.
    When I started going to the Christian Record Camps for the blind, I learned to do ceramics and made her coffee mugs because she loved those.
    I used to do animal statues for my dad.
    They always displayed the statues somewhere in the house.
    My dad’s favorite was a warthog I made one year.
    Camp always fell on Father’s Day so I always made certain to make him something.
    We could only make two crafts each year and I always made something for my parents.
    One year they had extra crafts because some campers didn’t come to the craft time and the crafts lady asked me if I’d like to come an extra time and make something for myself and I did make a tie-dye shirt for myself.
    I wish I could get into some sort of craft. I miss doing them.
    Oh, yeah, one year in school I learned to make a rug. I made this big rug by taking loops of yarn and weaving them together.
    Mom put it in front of the TV and it was lost when our house burned when I was 15.
    I’d love to relearn to make those rugs.
    PS. On a side-note, everytime I wrote camp during writing this comment I almost wrote Campbell.
    nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I was fortunate to have persons to help me learn to do such things as a blind person. Someone told me once, that I could find audio descriptions of crafts how to make them, and a place to order them that were set up for blind people. I have never been able to find the information.

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        Liked by 1 person

  2. In first grade, I painted a plaster apple that my mother hung above the stove in the kitchen. It stayed there for years. I also made a vase in Brownies. It was glass I painted yellow and dusted with glitter. The apple looked better.

    Liked by 1 person

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