The September/October issue of Poets & Writers magazine has a wonderful profile of Billy Collins. It doesn't seem to be available online but it's definitely worth checking out the next time you're in the bookstore. This poem was printed in the magazine, and it's also in his new book, Ballistics, which comes out on September 9th:
When it's late at night and branches Are banging against the windows, you might think that love is just a matter of leaping out of the frying pan of yourself into the fire of someone else, but it's a little more complicated than that.
It's more like trading the two birds who might be hiding in that bush for the one you are not holding in your hand.
A wise man once said that love was like forcing a horse to drink but then everyone stopped thinking of him as wise. Let us be clear about something.
Love is not as simple as getting up on the wrong side of the bed wearing the emperor's clothes.
No, it's more like the way the pen feels after it has defeated the sword. It's a little like the penny saved or the nine dropped stitches.
You look at me through the halo of the last candle and tell me love is an ill wind that has no turning, a road that blows no good, but I am here to remind you, as our shadows tremble on the walls, that love is the early bird who is better late than never.
I found a recording of Collins reading this poem and two others on A Prairie Home Companion last year. It's 22 minutes in, you can scroll ahead on the player.