Thursday, April 26, 2012

Poems for Your Pocket

It's Poem in Your Pocket day, a fun little National Poetry Month celebratory day. Fold up a poem and stick it in your pocket! Or maybe pull it out and hand it someone, as I suggest here in an Escape Into Life blog entry, with suggestions of specific short poems and links to those poets' features!

Fair warning: you have to be a little careful about how you share poems and with whom!

You can read more about this at, at many other poetry sites, and at this nice blog post by poet Kristin Berkey-Abbott, which has poetry prompts for today.

Somewhere I saw it specified that you put the poem in a rear pocket (so thanks to Dvortygirl and Wikipedia for the rear jeans pocket above!), but I have my poem rolled up in a side, zippered pocket on the jeans I am wearing today. (I am likely to do more gardening, so I hope I remembered to take the rolled-up poem out before I launder these jeans.)

I clipped it from an old issue (Fall 2009) of American Concierge Magazine, a classy glossy handed out free in hotels that uses poetry as filler (a grand old tradition) in a lovely pocket-like feature called "Pause for Poetry" slipped in among the ads. (Holy moly, look at the little river of "pockets" in the paragraph above!) Anyhoo, I am delighted to appear in American Concierge, in this instance across from a picture of Maggie Miley's Irish Coffee, and a recipe for it, and katty-korner down from a picture of swirled coffee from the Coffee Hound. Of course, my poem, "What I'd Tell You," very romantic and sad, is directly under an ad for Allied Waste of Bloomington, Illinois. But there is no picture of that.

Speaking of pictures, here is a picture of early pockets, reminding us 1) of pocketbooks and 2) that men and women wore them 3) even while threshing.

I've also clipped my poem "On the Back of the Seed Packet" from the current issue, Spring 2012, of American Concierge, to have handy in another pocket or for Poem in Your Pocket day next year. I was surprised and delighted that the editor picked this one, as it has sadness and darkness in it and this is a cheerful magazine, full of things to do in town for people in hotels looking for something to do.

On the other hand, these are people in hotel rooms, pausing for poetry.

On the Back of the Seed Packet

 Behind each poem you must have some suffering
they can trace to your daily life
or another way to dismiss the truth of shared suffering.

If you try to hide your sadness & show the shining path
to joy, they will call you sentimental
because they are afraid of how easy it is, and how hard.

Now that you know this, your own deep suffering
shall be as roofer’s nails
pounding through heart and gut, top of head, soles of feet,

to be hidden while you walk beside the fence
dropping moonflower seeds
for a fragrant night blooming vine.


Maureen said...

Fun piece at EIL today!

Really like the poem that concludes your post.

Kathleen said...

Thanks, Maureen!

Kristin Berkey-Abbott said...

A belated thank you for your kind reference to my post. I, too, love this poem that you include. And what a good reminder of how far and wide our poems might travel, whether they're in our pockets or in a magazine where you might not expect to find them.