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.

Billy Collins 是美國詩人,出身於紐約市,擅長談話式詩作。我很喜歡這首詩,簡明亦親切地討論看詩的態度。詩人邀請我們看一首詩如同拿著一張色彩的照片在燈光下細察,擠著耳朵聆聽它如蜂巢發出的聲音,又像一隻老鼠運用牠的鬚嗅出通道,亦像走進一間漆黑的房間摸出開燈掣,或像滑雪馳程一樣看見在彼岸的詩人,與詩人產生共鳴,看詩其實可以這樣充滿趣味。

但是,有些詩作很艱深,我們有時也會很苦惱,一直求問究竟它的意思是甚麼。那個時候,我們就會torture a confession out of it 又或者beating it with a hose,這樣的情況好多時都會出現,可是詩人好像不大認同這種看詩的態度呢。

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