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Billy Collins poem The Lanyard is not only a nostalgic recollection of a childhood event, but a testament to the unconditional, selfish love of a mother.

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Introduction

Lanyards and Mothers? Love Billy Collins? poem ?The Lanyard? is not only a nostalgic recollection of a childhood event, but a testament to the unconditional, selfish love of a mother. ?The Lanyard? is such a moving poem, despite its simple subject matter, because it teaches readers that one seemingly inconsequential moment from the past can, years later, have such a meaningful impact on the way one views the world or the people around him. Collins?, through the diction, format, and point of view that he uses in his poem, is able to take such a universal- the message of the strength of a mother?s love and man?s inability to ever truly recompense his mother for the sacrifices she had made- and turns it into something poignant and fresh. Collins? diction, especially his repletion of certain words or ideas, is import to the poem as it helps to get across his message and alert readers to deeper themes at play in his work. ...read more.

Middle

?The Lanyard? is a poem that seems to be divided into two main sections, consisting of the author?s thoughts regarding the past and the present. Collins? narrative starts out in the present, when, while wandering around his office out of boredom, ?ricocheting slowly off the blue walls of this room,? he finds come upon a long forgotten memory of a gift he made his mother once during summer camp. This nostalgic word, ?lanyard,? brings upon a flashback of this memory, particularly when the time when he gave his mother the homemade trinket. What the man now realizes, considering this event once again years later, is how insignificant his present was in paying back his mother for her years of devotion. The narrator remarks, ?I had never seen anyone use a lanyard, or wear on, if that?s what you did with them.? Despite the gift?s uselessness, the author, at the end of the poem, recalls being absolutely sure that the lanyard would be enough to repay his debt to her. ...read more.

Conclusion

Within this dialogue lies an important theme of the poem- Collins is not just exemplifying the unconditional love of a mother, but the ease with which she gives her whole self to her child, never expecting anything in return. The conclusion of this poem shows the narrator finally coming to realize, however ruefully, that he will never be able to repay his mother, that no act of kindness or generosity towards his mother can ever equal the thousands of times she has loved and provided for him over the years. Collins illustrates the importance of memories because they help people compare their past beliefs and thoughts to their understanding of the present. Memories are unpredictable things that can be set off by anything- a certain smell, a song on the radio, or even, in Collins? case, a dictionary word. Without memories of the past, we would not be able to appreciate the present. ...read more.

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