Thursday, November 13, 2008

Three Metafictionally Blind Recursive Mice

Dear Everybody:

One of our favorite poets, Billy Collins, seems to have a thing about mice. As witness:

I Chop Some Parsley While Listening to Art Blakey's Version of "Three Blind Mice"
by Billy Collins

And I start wondering how they came to be blind.
If it was congenital, they could be brothers and sister,
and I think of the poor mother
brooding over her sightless young triplets.

[Rest of poem removed because it’s still in copyright]

So what’s it about? I bet you can’t readily say. Good. Collins is, you’ll remember, the guy who complained that rather than lean back and experience a poem, his students want to tie it to a chair and beat it with a rubber hose until it tells them what it means. So if you enjoyed the poem, if it felt right to you, then you got it, exactly the same way you might get a really good jazz riff. What does it mean? Who knows? Sounds good, though.

Me, I’d say the poem was about the pleasure of experiencing things: Chopping parsley, listening to music, thinking about mice, getting sentimental. All that good stuff that makes life worth living, even though nobody can tell us what it “means.”

Oh, and it’s a metafictional commentary on poetry, too, since “Three Blind Mice” is a poem. Which also makes the whole thing recursive as well, doesn’t it? But enough of that.

All best,


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