Billy Collins, "Introduction to Poetry" from The Apple That Astonished Paris. Copyright 1988, 1996 by Billy Collins. Used by permission of the University of Arkansas Press, www.uapress.com.
I ask them to take a poemand hold it up to the lightlike a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poemand watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem's roomand feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterskiacross the surface of a poemwaving at the author's name on the shore.
But all they want to dois tie the poem to a chair with ropeand torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hoseto find out what it really means.
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Last updated on Tuesday, October 28, 2014.
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