Today is Poem in Your Pocket Day. Hmmm…as I write this post, I realize I am not wearing clothing with pockets. I might have to fix that, or short of doing laundry, use my bra as a substitute. Heck, I think I’ll post a poem here and carry it on my iphone as a note. I keep the phone handy all the time, so even if it’s not in a pocket, it will be on hand.
When it comes to poetry, I have a confession to make. I’m not a big fan of it. Like so many people, I was exposed to poetry in school in a way that turned it into something boring and scary, difficult to decipher and all-together unpleasant.. A few years ago, (in 2001 to be precise) good friends gave me a copy of Billy Collins’ “Sailing Alone Around the Room.” It was with this slim volume that opened the door for me to appreciate poetry. I’m slow to the genre, not really willing to spend a lot of time at it, but now…when I see a poem, I am more inclined to read it than not. Since that initial Collins book, I have picked up more of his work and have been introduced to others that I find myself seeking out on occasion–Pablo Neruda, Mary Oliver, David Whyte.
So for today, I’m going to pay homage by putting up a Billy Collins Poem that probably speaks to a lot of people. Poetry is a lot more fun when you just experience it and not try to kill it for an English assignment.
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.