The original Introductory to Poetry by Billy Collins
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.
Robert Frost’s Introduction to Poetry
Two poems sat there, equally stood,
Are placed next to each other side by side.
And being a student, assumed both were good
And, on one, gathered as much detail as I could
To the point where my eyes grew weak;
Then looked at the other, about the same,
And perhaps being the better lyric,
Because it had obtained a better claim to fame;
Though the recognition of the name
Had both won the war of credit in a way that was pyrrhic,
And both that day they equally sit
Pen marks had not stained the paper as they bled.
I filed the first inside my endless strapped school pit.
Yet knowing how easy it is to fall in to a procrastination fit
I doubted if I would ever have the other read.
And I will recite this without a thought
Somewhere after this class dismissed:
Two poems sat there, equally stood, and I—
I read the one that was better known,
And that is the extent of school work being reminisced.