I love this poem.
I love reading poems, and I love being a fan.
Struggled with whether to post it on the blog, since I read in Toastmasters magazine that I should not, but I am praising the poet and hoping you all check out the work of Billy Collins. Also like Poemhunter.com I don’t make any money from this blog and am posting the poem to praise it. I even have some of my poems at poemhunter.com.
The poem is called “The Trouble with Poetry” and it’s from Billy Collins wonderful book: “The Trouble with Poetry and Other Poems.”
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 out hands folder 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 fill 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 shop 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 amusement park of a book
I carried in the side pocket of my uniform
up and down the treacherous halls of high school.
And reminds me that one of my 2 favorite poetry books of the year (the other is Carl Sandburg’s “Chicago Poems”) is Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “A Coney Island of the Mind.” I am pretty sure that is his beloved and well worn book from high school.
And anyone who has the poetry book would agree that poems make you want to write other poems. So keep writing and keep looking out the windows and seeing a view into the world to inspire more writing.
Here is Billy Collins reading this poem. I need to read more of his stuff.