Introduction 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.
Passed along by a friend of my mother's from a blog that quotes Collins as saying that modern poetry lacks humor: "It's the fault of the Romantics, who eliminated humor from poetry. Shakespeare's hilarious, Chaucer's hilarious. The Romantics killed off humor, and they also eliminated sex, things which were replaced by landscape. I thought that was a pretty bad trade-off, so I'm trying to write about humor and landscape, and occasionally sex." Personally, I think Collins needs to brush up on his Byron and read more women poets, but I got a snicker out of this anyway.
The main event of my Monday was a dentist appointment. My dentist shares office space with my kids' dentist, so although I had the really excellent hygienist who doesn't scrape till my gums bleed and doesn't polish till I'm ready to cry (I can deal with the drill, but not the super-powered polishing brush that vibrates my whole body), there was a small child in the other half of the office wailing loudly enough to be heard over the Bee Gees. Fortunately I remember all too well the hygienist at my former dentist's office, who had a degree from the Marquis de Sade School of Dental Hygiene, plus my dentist keeps winning magazine awards among local dentists.
I did a bit of shopping in the mall afterward -- Paul's birthday is Tuesday, and I needed to get him a card from the cats, and chocolate -- then went up the strip to Bagel City, where I got a tuna bagel for lunch and lox spread to bring home for breakfast for everyone. Adam had tennis in the afternoon, with his former teacher substituting for his current teacher which was fine because he liked him. I don't really have anything to say about Heroes -- was happy to see the return of Micah, with his voice changed, and especially Janice, since it makes me happy that the baby is his and they didn't simply dismiss her as a lying cheating slut as it appeared, but the storyline is so convoluted at this point and people have switched sides and died/returned so many times that I don't care about anyone except a bit of affection for Hiro and Claire.
Am I the last to know about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? Jules, are you sure you didn't write this?