Billy Collins – Introduction to Poetry

Billy Collins
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.

Rant:

Whoever made me believe there is a tomorrow must have been the greatest lier humanity has ever seen! and whoever made me memories yesterdays must have carried a great anger toward me! And whoever made poetry academic, must have never fell in love! For now all there’s is now, & coffee, & breeze, & poetry, & the tremble in my eyes watching the last performance of the leaves on trees for the season! Go on green dancers, dance your last dance, as you do like there never will be another season!  Ah and a fire, a fire burning deep in my chest in the red house behind my rib cage!  Ah I don’t want to think about poems anymore – I want to go live in one! And if you ask me what is poetry for me? There is a Zen poem that says, “If you ask where the flowers come from, even the God of Spring doesn’t know.” 


Here’s to being

high or low. 
to experience,
to adding a verse 
to this eternal play,
to you!
Happy Friday baby town!

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