Summary Of The Lanyard By Billy Collins

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“The Lanyard”, by Billy Collins is a poem about the love of a mother and the love of a child. The main character, presently an adult male, speaks of his mother and his childhood memories of her. The focal memory of the character is a lanyard he made for his mother. Collins explains how the boy's simple gift, the lanyard, which symbolizes love, was enough to recompense her service of motherhood at a young age and presently how his words are enough compensation for her lifelong unconditional love.
The reading of the Lanyard takes place at the mother’s funeral service; the reader is the little boy in the poem. The speaker in first person addresses the crowd and commences to explain just how he came to write these simple words for his mother. Collins …show more content…

“I had never seen anyone use a lanyard/ or wear one, if that’s what you did with them/” (Collins 13-14). However, the uselessness of his gift did not deter him from making it; “strand over strand again and again/until I had made a boxy/ red and white lanyard for my mother” (Collins 16-18). Once recollecting the lanyard, the speaker addresses the crowd in the present explaining all his cherished mother had done for him. He spoke of his infant years, his sick days as a young boy, his mile stones, and his daily neediness stating his mother was there at his every life’s breath. “Here are thousands of meals, she said, /and here is clothing and a good education/ And here is your lanyard, I replied” (Collins 27-29). The speaker states, in the third person, that at the moment his mother received his gift with gracious humility, and kindness he knew she was acknowledging his simple gesture of love; his humble gesture was enough repayment for her years of unconditional love. “But the rueful admission that when she took the two-toned lanyard from my hand, I was as sure as a boy could be that this useless, worthless thing I wove/ out of boredom would be enough to make us even” (Collins

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