walk inside a poem’s room.

I read this poem my first year of college and fell in love. Over the years, I’d forgotten it, though its sentiment always remained important to me and my vision for myself as a teacher.

At a potluck at a professor’s house last week, she gave each of us a copy and asked us to read it in unison. As always, this is a poem that’s best read aloud. Enjoy! lv, molly

Introduction to Poetry

Billy Collins

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.

Image via Unruly Things.


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