Thursday, May 14, 2009

Billy Collins poems used in the Research

By Billy Collins

Smokey the Bear heads
into the autumn woods
with a red can of gasoline
[A1] and a box of wooden matches.

His ranger's hat is cocked
at a disturbing angle
[A2] .

His brown fur gleams
under the high sun
as his paws, the size
of catcher's mitts,
crackle into the distance.

He is sick of dispensing
warnings to the careless,
the half-wit camper
[A3] ,
the dumbbell hiker.

He is going to show them
how a professional does it
[A4] .












The Country

Billy Collins

I wondered about you
when you told me never to leave
a box of wooden, strike-anywhere matches
lying around the house because the mice

might get into them and start a fire.
But your face was absolutely straight
when you twisted the lid down on the round tin
where the matches, you said, are always stowed.

Who could sleep that night?
Who could whisk away the thought
of one unlikely mouse
padding along a cold water pipe

behind the floral wallpaper
gripping a single wooden match
between the needles of his teeth?
Who could not see him rounding a corner,

the blue tip scratching against a rough-hewn beam,
the sudden flare, and the creature
for one bright, shining moment
suddenly thrust ahead of his time-

now a fire-starter, now a torchbearer
in a forgotten ritual, little brown druid
illuminating some ancient night.
Who could fail to notice,

lit up in the blazing insulation[A7] 
the tiny looks of wonderment on the faces
of his fellow mice
[A8] , onetime inhabitants
of what once was your house in the country?





Another reason why I don't keep a gun in the house
[A10] By Billy Collins

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
[A11] He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark
that he barks every time they leave the house.
They must switch him on on their way out.

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
I close all the windows in the house
and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast
but I can still hear him muffled under the music,
barking, barking, barking
[A13] ,

and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra,
[A14] his head raised confidently as if Beethoven
had included a part for barking dog.

When the record finally ends he is still barking,
sitting there in the oboe section barking,
his eyes fixed on the conductor who is
entreating him with his baton

while the other musicians listen in respectful
silence to the famous barking dog solo
[A15] ,
that endless coda that first established
Beethoven as an innovative genius
[A16] .

 [A1]This is a very conflicting image with the Smokey the Bear we imagine in our heads. It is actually pretty funny to think of a fed up bear caring a can of gasoline.

 [A2]Once again, Collins gives us an conflicting image of the bear we know. Having the bear wear his hat in a “disturbing angle” sounds funny and at the same time gives shady image of the bear.

 [A3]A rather dim way to look at humanity.

 [A4]It is very ironic how Smokey the Bear is now the one creating forest fires. The irony makes it funny to the reader. However it gives the message that humans are careless enough to cause even Smokey to be fed up.

 [A5]It sounds like the mouse is gaining a more complex mind. It is like the discovery of fire.

 [A6]The mouse sounds like a start of a revolution.

 [A7]House burning down?

 [A8]This is a funny thought actually. It is funny to imagine mice in amazement and celebrating over the discovery of fire.

 [A9]I wonder what this statement means. Could it be the house burn down? Could this mean the mouse jump so far ahead of its time it now owns the house.

 [A10]After reading the poem, it is a rather funny title.

 [A11]A very relatable theme to anyone he lived next to a loud dog.

 [A12]Some humor here.

 [A13]Sounds a little insane, but in a funny way.

 [A14]It is funny to imagine the dog in the middle of the orchestra acting like Beethoven.

 [A15]Making fun of the loud and annoying barking.

 [A16]Comparing the dog to Beethoven. Are humans the dog? Or is he still making fun of the dog?

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