In Which Ella Refrains from Griping

There are good days and there are rotten days. Today was one of the latter.

But as days go, it could have gone worse. No one died and no one was wounded. No one got cancer or was diagnosed with a terminal disease. No one got fired and no one got sick. No one even got a paper cut.

But what really made me happy today, one of the few things that did, was discovering something called Poetry 180, which is a program designed by Billy Collins for high school students to read a poem each day of the school year. Naturally, I spent about two and half hours this evening perusing the site.

I thought that I might share the first poem with you in hopes that it might also brighten your possibly rotten day.

Introduction to Poetry

by Billy Collins

I 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.

If you click here, you can check out all of the poems. Enjoy!

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at, if you’re into that kind of thing.

2 thoughts on “In Which Ella Refrains from Griping

  1. Love this poem. I have it dog-eared in a compendium of works by the poet laureates. By the way, what do you think of “Another Reason Why I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House”?

    • I love that poem! “They must switch him on on their way out” is my favorite line. The sign of good writing is when the author/poet describes something and you, the reader, say to yourself, “They get it! That’s exactly how it is!” I can’t get over how accurate that line is. It’s just perfect.

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