Study Guide

Man Listening to Disc Stanza 7

By Billy Collins

Stanza 7

Lines 31-33

and all I can say to my fellow pedestrians,
to the woman in the white sweater,
the man in the tan raincoat and the heavy glasses 

  • The speaker's looking about him at passersby as he's walking and listening to his music. He's noticing a woman in a white sweater and a dude in a raincoat wearing glasses. 
  • What does the speaker want to say to these "fellow pedestrians"? We don't know… yet. 
  • We do know, though, that we get some alliteration in line 28, with a repetition of the W sound in the phrase "the woman in the white sweater." Clearly this is one of the speaker's favorite poetic devices. As in other moments in the poem, he's using it here to create rhythm through repetition. Go see "Sound Check" for more on this technique in the poem.

Lines 34-35

who mistake themselves for the center of the universe –
all I can say is watch your step,

  • The speaker's feeling cocky. He's saying that his "fellow pedestrians" (31), like the woman in the white sweater and the dude in the rain coat, aren't really the "center of the universe." He is. The music's got him feeling so high, he's sure that he's the center of the universe. 
  • The speaker tells them (in his head, of course): "watch your step." Why do they have to watch their step, though? Maybe we'll find out in the next stanza…

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