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 5
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 water-ski
across the surface of a poem 10
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 15
to find out what it really means.