Poetry for Poem In Your Pocket Day
Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die,
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams.
For if dreams go,
Life is a barren field
frozen with snow.
Happy “Poem in Your Pocket Day”!
This poem by Langston Hughes is perfect for today’s “Poem in Your Pocket Day“: it’s eloquent, timely, and it’s short enough to fit easily in your pocket!
As described in this post, “Poem in Your Pocket Day” started in New York in 20o2 and now is a national event occurring during Poetry Month where people put poems in their pockets to share with friends and strangers alike.
Their website offers these suggestions for ways to participate:
- Start a “poems for pockets” giveaway in your school or workplace
- Urge local businesses to offer discounts for those carrying poems
- Post pocket-sized verses in public places
- Memorize a poem
- Start a street team to pass out poems in your community
- Distribute bookmarks with your favorite lines of poetry
- Add a poem to your email footer
- Post lines from your favorite poem on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr
- Send a poem to a friend
A poem that fits both “Poem in Your Pocket Day” AND Earth Month is one of my favorites by Wendell Berry, “The Peace of Wild Things” from Robert Bly‘s News of the Universe:
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Another great choice is “Summer Day” from Mary Oliver:
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean–
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I ahve done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
For more poems — that have been formatted for the event– go here. The offerings include poems from Contemporary American and Canadian Poets and from the public domain– all are safe to share. Here are two I fell in love with:
“Burning the Old Year” by Naomi Shihab Nye
Letters swallow themselves in seconds.
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.
So much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
Orange swirling ame of days,
so little is a stone.
Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
I begin again with the smallest numbers.
Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things I didn’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.
“Imaginary Morning Glory” by C. D. Wright
Whether or not the water was freezing. The body
would break its sheathe. Without layer on layer
of feather and air to insulate the loving belly.
A cloudy lm surrounding the point of entry.
If blue were not blue how could love be love. But if the body
were made of rings. A loose halo would emerge
in the telluric light. If anyone were entrusted to verify
this rare occurrence. As the petal starts to
dwindle and curl unto itself. And only then. Love,
blue. Hallucinogenic blue, love.
Locally, tonight Thursday, April 21 at 7:30pm, celebrate “Poem In Your Pocket Day” at the EP Foster Library in the Topping Room 651 E. Main Street, Ventura, with a film homage to poets who have had a major influence on the Ventura county poetry scene: Gauvin, Barry Spacks, Elnora McNaughton, Dottie Grossman, Adrianne Marcus, Joan Raymund, Joyce La Mers, Lee McCarthy & Wilma Elizabeth McDaniel. Hosted by Ventura County Poet Laureate Phil Taggart; an open mic follows. Usually poets share their own work but perhaps an exception can be made for those who have the works of other poets in their pockets!
Future EP Foster Thursday Night Featured Readers include:
April 28 Trista Hurley
May 5 Open Mic (with Ventura College students and I!)
May 12 Patti & Kevin Patrick Sullivan
For more poetry, come to Ojai’s WordFest Sat. April 29 and Sunday, May 1!