Introduction to Poetry


I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light 
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem 
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room 
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski 
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope 
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose 
to find out what it really means.



Billy Collins, ''Introduction to Poetry''
Photo: Nikos Economopoulos

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