The Trouble with Poetry - Billy Collins

This is one of my favorite Billy Collins' poems.  It is very accessible and doesn't necessarily need explanation or analysis.  It does provide some inspiration. It does what John Keats says poetry ought to do: "It should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance." Accordingly, I muse about my own trouble with music in what should eventually shape into a poem below this. 

This poem reminds me of Mirza Ghalib's Hazaron Khwahishen Aisi where guppies become desires. More and more desires, each one to kill oneself for.  




The Trouble with Poetry
Billy Collins

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.

More poetry on poetry. 

The Troubles We Share - Shivpreet Singh

When someone asks me 
to do more of a certain kind 
of composition or video
I am reminded of 
Billy Collins

I am reminded of 
the desires coming out
of Mirza Ghalib's ghazals
one goes and is displaced
by one hundred more

I am reminded of 
the kitten emerging 
from my consciousness, 
the millionfish  swimming 
out of my imagination
in their rainbow colors.

I am reminded of 
a new head of Raavan
replacing the one
that was just fell
by Raam's arrow.

And I am reminded of 
that lingering question:
How will they every end ...
the troubles that poetry 
shares with all art forms. 

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