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.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Billy Collins's poem Introduction To Poetry


  1. Hannylyn Gañgan says:

    Just drop by! I’m proud of being a deep one at my young age.Poem is my inspiration to express my self as an unique Filipino citizen… Being a poet is a fiction for me! Fiction of our reality but I’m still hoping that someday the right time will come… HehE…

  2. Ian says:

    Um. Does the mouse get run over by the waterski? Cause if so…That would be friggen sweet!!

  3. Joe Myers says:

    Can’t all poets be as didactic as Billy?!?!!?!?

  4. jaymie says:

    this poem is a good one

  5. Hannylyn says:

    Poem is a main power to develope our speech in speaking. It is a whole of magical words that comes from our heart, it is like a love song’s or music that touch our feelings that we feel, it is a wide and artistic imagination in one mind. Poem is a major and speacilly walking letters find the side to side invention and never rest until to find the end but the words of one poem has no end cause its like a rain,number,insects and other things that we cant count on……..

  6. Robyn says:

    I think I really understand this poem. It gives more of a saying in the readers point in view. And helps alot in my homework on sonnets.

  7. Rao says:

    Feeling the walls for the light switch; that is what I do with lot of poems! Glad that the poet accepts it!! May be he recommends it?! – if situation warrants?

  8. ruth says:

    i totally agree!

  9. Megs says:

    This poem reminds me of AP english in high school. No tender hands, no loving strokes, merely the precise surgery of autopsy.

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