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.

Metamorphosis

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?

4 comments:

  1. 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.

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  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.

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  3. Any of Shakespeare's sonnets.

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

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

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