INTRODUCTION TO POETRY by Billy Collins
INTRODUCTION TO POETRY
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.
I discovered the philosophical meaning of poetry. And when I reread this poem, I was surprised to find that all the philosophy I have learned is contained in this one poem. In other words, poetry is seeing the world through slides of various colors in a dazzling light. Sometimes I look into it with boundless curiosity, like putting my ear to a beehive, but I'm still nervous. When I enter the poetry room, there is a switch that can turn on a light, so it is reassuring. We can windsurf in an ocean of endless fun and imagination in this poetic world. Above all, poetry is fun, but when we meet poetry, we feel the pain as if we have to reveal everything hidden within us. But in that pain, we know what life really is. That is poetry. Since all of the poems are included in this poem, I thought it might be a good summary, so I read it as if I was reviewing what I had learned.
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Myungja Anna Koh