Poem in Your Pocket Day is today, April 30, and it is a valuable reminder that poetry can be with us every single day of the year, not just during National Poetry Month. Come read our selections for this year’s celebration.
Poem in Your Pocket Day started in 2002 in New York City, but ever since 2008, the Academy of American Poets has taken the celebration to a national level, encouraging everyone to participate in spreading and sharing poetry on this final day of National Poetry Month. Maybe we aren’t all hiding a secret poet inside, but we can surely all carry poetry around with us — whether we keep it safely tucked away or share it loud and proud.
A Place for Mom is joining in the fun. We are hosting a poetry contest in honor of Mother’s Day, and we are also celebrating with four wonderful poems: feel free to share them, print them and carry them with you today.
The first poem of the bunch has long been one of my personal favorites. William Carlos Williams was multi-talented — he was a doctor as well as a poet — and his uniquely spare and simple sense of language always draws a vivid mental picture. This particular poem also includes a little wry humor.
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This Is Just To Say
by William Carlos Williams
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
Short and sweet, haiku are a perfect choice for keeping with you on Poem in Your Pocket Day.
Our next poem features Yosa Buson, one of the original Japanese masters of the haiku, and Robert Hass, who is a former U.S. Poet Laureate.
They paint a lovely, hopeful image to celebrate the joys of spring.
Lighting One Candle
by Yosa Buson / Translated by Robert Hass
Lighting one candle
with another candle–
Emily Dickinson is one of our best-loved American poets, and the next poem has been one of my favorites since childhood.
Her work is deceptively simple on the surface, and yet the more you read and think about it, the more subtle and full of depth it is. It is a quality that makes her poetry uniquely suitable for sharing with children and adults alike, with something for everyone to enjoy.
Many of her poems are somber, but others have a more playful quality; like Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” this is one that reminds us not everyone takes the same path.
I can almost imagine the author winking slyly at the reader, sharing in the joke about poets being slightly mad!
Much Madness is Divinest Sense
by Emily Dickinson
Much Madness is divinest Sense –
To a discerning Eye –
Much Sense – the starkest Madness –
‘Tis the Majority
In this, as all, prevail –
Assent – and you are sane –
Demur – you’re straightway dangerous –
And handled with a Chain —
Haiku are not only known for their brevity and their nature imagery.
Kobayashi Issa, another original haiku master, wrote a number of gently humorous poems, including a few about the annoyance of mosquitoes.
This one is a wonderful reminder of the privileges we might begin to enjoy as we all get a bit older.
Napped Half the Day
by Kobayashi Issa / Translated by Robert Hass
Napped half the day;
Are you celebrating Poem in Your Pocket Day? Share your favorite poems with us in the comments below, or let us know how you’ve been observing National Poetry Month.