“tie the poem to a chair with rope”

Billy Collins reminds us, lest we forget, that a poem once written and placed on a page, is in a sense open game! The poet cannot patrol the poem allowing only this or that to be what was intended. Ponder all those pages written by way of explanation to some of the poems of our greatest poets. Why not yet another interpretation? That is the nature of the territory of writing poems, once written, spoken or printed, they are free to become whatever they become. Collins pokes some fun at what we have done to poems. I hope you enjoy his poem below Introduction to Poetry but more I hope you enjoy the poems I post regardless of what introduction I offer. May the poems come alive as you read them and may they become for you what you determine. While you ponder the poem consider this great gift of life which is for you to unwrap, enjoy and share!

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. Billy Collins

Amazing and creating God,
you have given to us this gift of life.
Each day, as we unwrap this gift, may
we discover something of the divine and the holy.
May we be reminded that life is for living
and living is for loving
and loving is for including
and including is for ever widening the circle
we call family.
Forgive us, O Loving God
when we have
stored rather than shared,
when we have
closed rather than opened,
when we have
ignored rather than befriended.
O loving God,
you have much work still to do
in helping us discover this gift of life
which breathes love and grace.
So breathe your grace upon us
that we too might breathe this
new life and share with all. Amen.

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