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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.
Other works by Billy Collins ...



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