Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Fitting Finish To National Poetry Month

Tomorrow is National Poem in Your Pocket Day and a fitting finish to National Poetry month it is. I hope that many classroom teachers across our nation will plan for and celebrate the day with their students. If they don't, they are passing up a golden opportunity to teach children that poetry can be fun. 

If you're not familiar with this day, read about it at the Academy of Poets website. The gist of it is that we should each select a poem, copy it, fold and put in your pocket on April 30th. If you have the opportunity to pull it out and read it to someone during the day, so much the better. Not everyone would have the courage to do that. 

Stop and think about it. If I went to the butcher case at my grocery store and, before I ordered the meat, I pulled out my poem and asked the butcher if I might read it to him, he might be polite enough to nod his assent but he might also think What kind of a wacko is she? Or, suppose you stopped to pick up a prescritpion at your pharmacy and you inquired of the pharmicist May I read a poem to you for Poem in your Pocket Day? If there wasn't a line of people waiting, he might agree. Maybe he, too, likes poetry, and it would make his day. Or he might politely tell you that he really didn't have time as others are waiting. So, choose your person, place and time wisely. It could be someone in your own family--a poem over cereal and toast early in the morning perhaps.

Of the millions of poems in our world, what one will you choose to put in your pocket tomorrow? A limerick? A haiku? A sonnet? A lengthy free verse? A poem from a long-ago poet or one who writes today? A nursery rhyme? A narrative tale poem? We all have our favorite poets and favorite poems. No, I retract that--all those who enjoy poetry have their favorites. 

Only people who like poetry will participate in Poem in your Pocket Day. Even if you don't copy a poem and put in your pocket or read it to someone tomorrow, you might think about a favorite poem. Maybe it's even one you've written yourself. 

One point about poetry was brought home to me only last night. A poet friend in my online wrirter's group has a new poem published at a sci-fi website. She had read it to those attending the conference this month that I had to miss. The webiste showed only the Table of Contents so I commented that I'd like to see the poem, too. She kndly sent it to me last evening. I  read it before closing down the computer for the night. I read it twice more this morning. The more I read, the more I saw in the poem and the better I liked it. So, don't read a poem once and move on. Give it a second and third read. I can almost guarantee that you'll enjoy it more with each reading. 

I'm writing about tomorrow's celebration today so that you will have time to prepare.

I read several poems this mornng at a poetry site while considering what to write on the blog today. Here's one I know I first read in high school. I think I appreciate it far more today than way back then. It's a very familiar poem--simple yet visual and thought-provoking and written by a famed poet. 

Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here 
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer 
To stop without a farmhouse near 
Between the woods and frozen lake 
The darkest evening of the year. 

He gives his harness bells a shake 
To ask if there is some mistake. 
The only other sound’s the sweep 
Of easy wind and downy flake. 

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. 
But I have promises to keep, 
And miles to go before I sleep, 
And miles to go before I sleep.

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