|Introduction to Poetry by Billy Collins|
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a colour slide
or press an ear against it's hive
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out
or walk inside a 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 authors 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 by beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
I found this poem whilst blog browsing (it may be a waste of many hours, but there are occasional gems to be found). I had never heard of Billy Collins, I find that he is amongst the most well loved of modern American poets, but I have requested something from the library to become better acquainted. I loved what this poem says about the way poetry is taught. I really loved the line about 'feel the walls for a light switch', it captures so wonderfully the subtleties of understanding.