Billy Collins

(22 March 1941 - / New York City)

Introduction To Poetry - Poem 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.


Comments about Introduction To Poetry by Billy Collins

  • Kiran Pillai (6/16/2018 5:40:00 AM)


    ha ha very nice. Felt it quite well (Report) Reply

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  • Sylvaonyema Uba (4/13/2018 6:16:00 AM)


    ...dropp a mouse into a poem. Nicely written and well communicated. SYLVA-ONYEMA UBA (Report) Reply

  • (3/16/2018 1:32:00 AM)


    Your poem was amazing (Report) Reply

  • Damion Hamilton (3/10/2018 6:14:00 PM)


    I say drop a mouse into a poem
    and watch him probe his way out, Love it.
    (Report) Reply

  • (3/7/2018 5:38:00 AM)


    Plain diction but rich in metaphor. (Report) Reply

  • (11/21/2017 3:42:00 PM)


    i like this poem a lot good job billy (Report) Reply

  • (11/14/2017 10:56:00 PM)


    Over analysis of anything is never good,
    You end up with nothing, understood,
    Like a dried out dish, that's overcooked.

    This is a striking poem not only for the original images and metaphors but also because of how vividly the poet presents his case.
    (Report) Reply

  • (11/11/2017 10:21:00 PM)


    Yes, we sometimes, truly struggle with some poems. Still, poet may have a definite objective in his/her mind, when the poem is crafted, like viewing it against light like a slide, or dropping a mouse in to it and watching how it would struggle to get out or finding walls in a room of poem etc. etc. It makes us thinking, indeed. Enjoyed. Thanks for sharing. X (Report) Reply

  • Akham Nilabirdhwaja Singh (11/11/2017 10:04:00 PM)


    Funny the ways trying to know a poem.Wonderful write.10 (Report) Reply

  • Geeta Radhakrishna Menon (11/11/2017 10:03:00 PM)


    That's sad!

    They begin beating it with a hose
    to find out what it really means.

    The fate of introduction to poetry.
    (Report) Reply

  • (11/11/2017 4:08:00 PM)


    Poetry like life cannot always be figured out, sometimes the real beauty is simply in the participating in/with it. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (11/11/2017 1:01:00 PM)


    Such a meaningful poem, Billy.... congrats for being picked...10++++ (Report) Reply

  • Pranab K Chakraborty (11/11/2017 5:29:00 AM)


    Here Them is the word we have to decipher its targeted category first. Otherwise another mistake we will have to commit again to misjudge the Poet. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (11/11/2017 1:06:00 AM)


    The poem's room! ! Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • (11/11/2017 12:55:00 AM)


    Brilliantly expressed. Beautiful poem with lofty insight. (Report) Reply

  • Sylvia Frances Chan (9/24/2017 10:40:00 AM)


    Excellent poem. Hilarious situation.. Best Introduction to Poetry, better than I had when I was still studying the matter at my faculty of letters. Thank you for your subtile humor, which I like very much. Thank you for sharing much sun on a grey day. A TEN for your entertainment of this class, Billy. Regards from Silly, I MEAN Sylvie of course, (Report) Reply

  • (6/3/2017 9:48:00 AM)


    This is so lovely.There is this new collection of poems Soul Etchings. It features a new style and refreshing forms. you can get the poem here goo.gl/KkhYF0 (Report) Reply

  • (6/3/2017 9:45:00 AM)


    This is so lovely. There's a new collection Soul Etchings. It portrays Originality, Style and a refreshing sense of form. These poets may be the futrue of Poetry, you can get the collection here goo.gl/KkhYF0 (Report) Reply

    Sylvia Frances Chan (9/24/2017 10:42:00 AM)

    But dear Frank, please need not to go, these poems suffice. Thank you.

  • Tom Allport (1/7/2017 3:55:00 PM)

    tom allport
    I agree? every prospective poet should sit an exam and on passing it they would be given a license to practice poetry. (Report) Reply

  • Ernest Makuakua (1/29/2016 4:11:00 AM)


    true sometimes we just have to find the meaning to understand what the poem is about
    simply because we write with a motive

    thanks for sharing love it.
    i invite you to read my new poem. What is poetry to you
    (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: poem, light, poetry



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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