My poetry instruction book,
which I bought at an outdoor stall along the river,
contains many rules
about what to avoid and what to follow.
More than two people in a poem
is a crowd, is one.
Mention what clothes you are wearing
as you compose, is another.
Avoid the word vortex,
the word velvety, and the word cicada.
When at a loss for an ending,
have some brown hens standing in the rain.
Never admit that you revise.
And—always keep your poem in one season.
I try to be mindful,
but in these last days of summer
whenever I look up from my page
and see a burn-mark of yellow leaves,
I think of the icy winds
that will soon be knifing through my jacket.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
"The Student," a poem by Billy Collins, from The Trouble With Poetry: