To My Favorite 17-year-old High School Girl
By Billy Collins
Do you realize that if you had started building the Parthenon
on the day you were born,
you would be all done in only one more year?
Of course, you couldn’t have done that all alone.
So never mind;
you’re fine just being yourself.
You’re loved for just being you.
Judy Garland was pulling down 150,000 dollars a picture,
Joan of Arc was leading the French army to victory
and Blaise Pascal had cleaned up his room –
no wait, I mean he had invented the calculator?
later in your life, after you come out of your room
and begin to blossom,
or at least pick up all your socks.
that Lady Jane Grey was queen of England
when she was only 15.
But then she was beheaded, so never mind her as a role model.
A few centuries later,
Franz Schubert was doing the dishes for his family,
but that did not keep him from composing two symphonies, four operas
and two complete masses as a youngster.
But of course, that was in Austria
not here in the suburbs of Cleveland.
Frankly, who cares if Annie Oakley was a crack shot at 15
We think you’re special just being you –
playing with your food and staring into space.
but that doesn’t mean he never helped out around the house.