She, who cannot find her notes on looped hachure, and she who realized that Poetry month is almost over before she has posted any of her favorites, would like to offer this:
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.
Painting of Billy Collins
by Didi Menendez.
When I went looking for my two books of Billy Collins’s poetry, which should have been on a shelf devoted entirely to books of poetry, I couldn’t find any poetry books…. I don’t remember rearranging the shelves, but now all the poetry books are jumbled in various places. When I found Questions about Angels (which is not the book that has the poem copied above in it) I found a handwritten poem tucked inside the cover and signed, with flourish, “MWC.”
I swear I’ve never seen this note before. I would also swear I bought the book new. How could I have forgotten about this interesting poem, written out long hand, tucked inside?… because frankly I think those initials might be Billy Collins’s. I don’t know what the ‘M’ is, but the ‘WC’ could certainly stand for William Collins. What do you think? The handwriting is fascinating…quite artistic to my eye….
Here is the poem:
For as Cleanthes said:
Just as sound
pent up in the narrow
channel of a trumpet
comes out sharper and stronger….
So it seems to me
compressed into the numbered fact of poetry,
springs forth much more violently
and strikes me a much stiffer jolt.
And last, another favorite of mine, “Forgetfulness,” read by Billy Collins and animated by Julian Grey.