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Introduction To Poetry

Billy Collins

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.

This Is Just To Say
William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox
and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast
Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

contest winners. Project director? Get a bullshit detector. You can’t be nice to everyone. Yes fuck them allthe artsy posers. people who give catered dinners and (saddest of sinners) those who attend themwhich is to say fuck yourself and the person you were: polite and mature. the overhyped and underrated. a trooper for good. Client’s mum? Up your bum.Fight Song Deborah Garrison Sometimes you have to say it: Fuck them all. When your back is to the wall When they don’t return your call When you’re sick of saving face When you’re screwed in any case Fuck culture scanners. . subtle thinkers and the hacks who offend them. the office blowhards and brown-nosers. Fuck the type who gets the job done and the type who stands on principle. the down-to-earth and understated. The beauty is they’ll soon forget you and if they don’t they probably should.

called the beloved — yet both returned empty-handed. Catching her breath. In the darkness. weeping . prophesies may be forgotten. and we see why she ran to rouse his disciples. on a world that had been saved in its sleep. asking who could have dared to take him. why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for? John 20:15 We know the story. the tomb emptied of the body she had come to cleanse and anoint with oils. and denied him thrice before dawn. Valdellon Woman. closing the door to a room where the rest (except the venom-lipped one who kissed him in the garden) broke bread with trembling fingers. ablebodied men who could not stand at the foot of his cross with her. why she was there before the sun rose that first day.Magdalene Naya S. who sliced off the ear of a servant. She alone returned to the barren scene. She was the first to see the stone unrolled. and the other who leaned against his chest. the body she could touch only in death. she watched two of them rush off— one solid as rock.

Stop holding on to me. not with him. And when he asked her those questions. for how else could she have mistaken him— appearing to her in the flesh—for a gardener? Perhaps she was thinking of other gardens. and knelt at his feet. he began to say. Mary. Teacher. take it to another place of rest. changed and shining with a light so painful it could only be love. We speak of tears blurring her vision. seven pairs of eyes closing and crying inside her. . Mourning. and carry the burden in her breast all her life? She heard a voice tenderly calling her by name.for the body other hands must have stolen. but we suspect the gospel writer rewrote this scene to speak of his ascension. the body she could not believe would rise again. how could he not have been moved by the woman who was willing to bear the sacred weight of his body. not for the world. other angels barring the way to a paradise she could never enter. and she looked up at the face she knew by heart. as if the seven demons he had banished came howling back to possess her. but for her loss. She whispered. Something like wings unfolded inside her. she was unconsoled by the words of angels whose wings shone in the tomb.

She who loved him maybe the most. It is unspeakable. and kissed his feet. hold her in his arms as she sobbed against his risen body? We do not know. we weren’t there. it fills me. But with all we know of human love. but for all those who ran away. He appeared to me first. I have seen and touched the Lord. and not for her alone. How could she not go on living after that? Pieta By Rainer Maria Rilke Now my anguish is complete. brush his wounded palms against her cheeks.We wonder— did he calm the turbulent waves of her hair. . We read what she told those quivering men. we know what must have given her strength to begin the rest of her life. Yet he rose like the sun to eternal life. for the world that dreamed in the dark that day. loved what she could hold on to. I am numb like the stone's core. of the wounds and demons it inflicts and heals.

To hear the immense night. .'The night is shattered and the blue stars shiver in the distance. To feel that I have lost her. an agony bigger than it is capable of. What does it matter that my love could not keep her.' The night wind revolves in the sky and sings. now I can no longer give you birth. and know only one thing: you grew big -. Through nights like this one I held her in my arms I kissed her again and again under the endless sky. and grew big. Tonight I can write the saddest lines. Tonight I Can Write The Saddest Lines Pablo Neruda Tonight I can write the saddest lines. . for example. To think that I do not have her. She loved me sometimes. How could one not have loved her great still eyes. still more immense without her. Write. . and sometimes she loved me too. and I loved her too. Tonight I can write the saddest lines.I am hard. The night is shattered and she is not with me. I loved her. Now you're lying right across my lap. in order to stand outside my heart. And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

. My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing. Love is so short. of that time. Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer and these the last verses that I write for her. I no longer love her. In the distance someone is singing. My heart looks for her. Her inifinite eyes. at the red branch of the slow autumn at my window. Another's. but how I loved her. Her bright body. that's certain. We. The same night whitening the same trees. My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her. In the distance. if I touch near the fire the impalpable ash or the wrinkled body of the log.This is all. are no longer the same. and she is not with me. If You Forget Me Pablo Neruda I want you to know one thing. Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms my sould is not satisfied that it has lost her. forgetting is so long. You know how this is: if I look at the crystal moon. Like my kisses before. Her voide. that's certain. She will be another's. but maybe I love her. My sight searches for her as though to go to her. I no longer love her.

for I shall already have forgotten you. in me all that fire is repeated. . ah my own. ah my love. remember that on that day. and you decide to leave me at the shore of the heart where I have roots. and as long as you live it will be in your arms without leaving mine. aromas. light.everything carries me to you. now. were little boats that sail toward those isles of yours that wait for me. But if each day. in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten. if little by little you stop loving me I shall stop loving you little by little. beloved. if each day a flower climbs up to your lips to seek me. metals. my love feeds on your love. If you think it long and mad. at that hour. If suddenly you forget me do not look for me. as if everything that exists. the wind of banners that passes through my life. you feel that you are destined for me with implacable sweetness. Well. each hour. I shall lift my arms and my roots will set off to seek another land.