Sunday, July 19, 2009

I haven't posted a poem in a long time.

And now I will. My friend Amelia gave me a book of poems by Billy Collins, and I read's really good. I like him, even though he doesn't rhyme. On Mother's Day, Donald Miller posted a poem by Collins that I liked a lot...that was my first exposure to him, in a poem called the Lanyard. I'd recommend reading it...I almost posted it here, but I decided against it in favor of posting The Trouble With Poetry. It's a good poem, and it's a good representation of how Collins writes. Without further typing:

The Trouble With Poetry

The trouble with poetry, I realized
as I walked along a beach one night --
cold Florida sand under my bare feet,
a show of stars in the sky --

the trouble with poetry is
that it encourages the writing of more poetry,
more guppies crowding the fish tank,
more baby rabbits
hopping out of their mothers into the dewy grass.

And how will it ever end?
unless the day finally arrives
when we have compared everything in the world
to everything else in the world,

and there is nothing left to do
but quietly close our notebooks
and sit with our hands folded on our desks.

Poetry fills me with joy
and I rise like a feather in the wind.
Poetry fills me with sorrow
and I sink like a chain flung from a bridge.

But mostly poetry fills me
with the urge to write poetry,
to sit in the dark and wait for a little flame
to appear at the tip of my pencil.

And along with that, the longing to steal,
to break into the poems of others
with a flashlight and a ski mask.

And what an unmerry band of thieves we are,
cut-purses, common shoplifters,
I thought to myself
as a cold wave swirled around my feet
and the lighthouse moved its megaphone over the sea,
which is an image I stole directly
from Lawrence Ferlinghetti --
to be perfectly honest for a moment --

the bicycling poet of San Francisco
whose little amusement park of a book
I carried in a side pocket of my uniform
up and down the treacherous halls of high school.


  1. I like this! Completely relate to it!

  2. that is probably my favorite poem in the whole book, except maybe for the one at the beginning where he talks to the reader.

    and i always feel after reading it like a guppy birthing too much sentiment.

  3. peter, i cannot figure out how to follow your blog. i am blogging incompetent. maybe i'm already following you...see i don't even know!!! :)

    you should follow mine!! :)

    have a swell day. :)

  4. alright, according to blogspot, i am already following you. that clears that up. :)