Unit 1 Original Poem (F)

Billy Collins Inspired Poetry, “Her”


The Quiet City

In this corner of the world

as I’m sitting down to bask in the sunlight, I notice how serene my environment is.

On this particular day, the city sounds all too quiet:

No gas guzzler vehicle starting in the distance, not a single buzzer on a phone going off, and an only occasional chirp from a shy bird or two.

All that I hear is thoughts moving across my mind like heavy traffic, and the gentle footsteps that patter on the ground.

This morning is odd,

I am only hearing the softness of the world, as if it’s resting.

It sounds oh so quiet that I ask a friend

Where might the city bustle have gone?


  • In this poem I was inspired by Billy Collins Her, which tells a moment of a man walking around his suburbs and taking in how loud the sounds around him actually are, such as the dog barks, the leafblowers, and the garbage trucks. 

  • I was also inspired by the simplicity of the poem and internal dialogue of the poem. In my poem, I focused on my location of Hong Kong, and talked about how unbearably quiet it was one day because I’m very used to the city noise. 


There is no noisier place than the suburbs,

someone once said to me

as we were walking along a fairway,

and every day is delighted to offer fresh evidence:

the chainsaw, the leaf-blower blowing

one leaf around an enormous house with columns,

on Mondays and Thursdays the garbage truck

equipped with air brakes, reverse beeper, and merciless grinder.

There’s dogs, hammers, backhoes

or serious earthmovers if today is not your day.

How can the birds get a peep

or a chirp in edgewise, I would like to know?

But this morning is different,

only a soft clicking sound

and the low talk of two workmen working

on the house next door, laying tile I am guessing.

Otherwise, all quiet for a change,

just the clicking of tiles being handled

and their talking back and forth in Spanish

then one of them asking in English

“What was her name?” and the silence of the other.