Wednesday, April 23, 2008

National Poetry Month

A friend reminded me that it's National Poetry Month, so I wanted to share one of my favorite poems, by Billy Collins. I love the inventiveness of his imagery and ideas in this, and his directness in general.


If Kafka could turn a man into an insect in one sentence
perhaps he could transform me into something new,
a slow willful river running through a forest,
or simply the German word for river, a handful of letters
hidden in the dark alphabetical order of a dictionary.

Not that I am so miserable, but i could use a change
of scenery and substance, plus the weather reminds me of him.
I imagine Kafka at his desk: the nib of his pen,
like the beak of a bird, disturbs the surface of a pool of ink,
and he writes a sentence at the top of a page

changing me into a goldfish or a lost mitten
or a cord of split wood or the New York Public Library.
Ah, to awaken one morning as the New York Public Library.
I would pass the days observing old men in raincoats
as they mounted the ponderous steps between the lions

carrying wild and scribbled notes inside their pockets.
I would feel the pages of books turning inside me like butterflies.
I would stare over Fifth Avenue with a perfectly straight face.

What are some of your favorite poems?


  1. Anonymous7:41 AM

    That's a nice poem.

    I dont't read a lot of poetry, but if I had to pick I suppose I'd choose Poe's The Raven.

    Incidentally, I wrote a limerick the other day and posted it on my blog. It's silly, but it's as poetic as I'm gonna get.

    Congrats to the San Jose Sharks, by the way.

  2. Billy Collins is great, he's got a good sense of humor. I think you might like him.

    I'll have to come check out your limerick!

    And GO SHARKS! I don't know if my nerves can handle another series like that, though.

  3. Any of Shakespeare's sonnets.

    And I recently started getting into W.H. Auden.

  4. Which of Auden's do you like most?