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

  • Mahtab BangaleeMahtab Bangalee (11/7/2019 12:47:00 AM)

    all they want to do
    is tie the poem to a chair with rope
    and torture a confession out of it.// it wonders me(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Michael WalkerMichael Walker (9/19/2019 9:19:00 PM)

    Vivid imagery indeed. All the ways you can teach poetry. I know. I did that.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
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  • Jane Campion (8/7/2019 1:50:00 AM)

    To torture a poem to it squeals we see our destiny.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • Britte NinadBritte Ninad (7/8/2019 3:40:00 AM)

    I want them to waterski
    across the surface of a poem
    waving at the author's name on the shore. ||| brilliant writing, brilliant poem shared(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • yourmom (5/15/2019 11:36:00 PM)

    poems suck and make noooooooo sense im only on here for school(Report)Reply

    someone(6/26/2019 5:48:00 AM)

    That's not true. Poetry is more than some lame homework, Perhaps you haven't found the right poem yet. But you will, only if you search. Search out of your coursework. XO

    1 person liked.
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  • Ankusha (1/22/2019 1:46:00 AM)

    Nice.. check out dream world by ankusha for some more wonderful poems...(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Sukirty (12/3/2018 4:42:00 AM)

    Thanks for poem Iove it(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • hiloolollolo (9/29/2018 8:50:00 AM)

    fxck this is shxt lolAlready ReportedReply

    5 person liked.
    10 person did not like.
  • Raynolds MoseamediRaynolds Moseamedi (9/3/2018 6:42:00 PM)

    A great poem, thank you Billy for sharing(Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Boyo Bulatao (8/3/2018 11:01:00 PM)

    How can I contribute a poem here? Thanks!(Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Ruth Walters (6/19/2018 8:45:00 AM)

    I love this poem for your humour, you see the funny side of people trying their damndest to find more in a poet than, maybe, was ever intended.(Report)Reply

    6 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Kiran PillaiKiran Pillai (6/16/2018 5:40:00 AM)

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

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Sylvaonyema UbaSylvaonyema Uba (4/13/2018 6:16:00 AM)

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

    5 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Thatogatsi Kgari (3/16/2018 1:32:00 AM)

    Your poem was amazing(Report)Reply

    6 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Damion HamiltonDamion 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

    6 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Paul Proof (3/7/2018 5:38:00 AM)

    Plain diction but rich in metaphor.(Report)Reply

    7 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • jack frost (11/21/2017 3:42:00 PM)

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

    3 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • Sandra Feldman (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

    4 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • Jayatissa K.Liyanage (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

    5 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Akham Nilabirdhwaja SinghAkham Nilabirdhwaja Singh (11/11/2017 10:04:00 PM)

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

    1 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
Read all 66 comments »




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Read poems about / on: poem, light, poetry



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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