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On Turning Ten

Billy Collins

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"On Turning Ten"
Added by: Mr. Mac
When I heard Billy Collins read this (and I've had the pleasure of hearing him read twice at the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival in Farmington, Connecticut) he said that this poem was about turning "the big 1 - oh". And people laughed all the way through it. It is funny, I suppose, when the subject of satire are the 3-oh, 5-oh, etc. poems.

But for me this one is never that funny (it's amusing in parts, but on the whole, sad). My son recited this poem for his sixth grade class (he was 11) as part of a poetry project, and he was really good. You could tell that he got it. And he thinks it's sad, too.
Added by: Taryn
I agree with Mr.Mac. This is one of his poems that doesn't use humor to connect with the reader, but feeling of loss instead.
On Turning Ten
Added by: Linda Morgan
This poem makes me cry every time I read it because it expesses so wonderfully the awakening of the child to the reality of a world outside himself.It is sad but beautifully written.
On Turning Ten
Added by: George
Bittersweet. I remember fondly when my bike was full of speed too. On some days don't you just wish you could be a pirate or a wizard?

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