O.P.P. #11 — Billy’s lesson…

Day 11 of National Poetry Month.

And we are trying to understand…

Introduction to Poetry



by 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.