Thursday, April 30, 2009

Is that a poem in your pocket?

You probably know that April is National Poetry Month. What you might not have heard is that Thursday, April 30 is Poem in Your Pocket Day, a celebration that will be observed by schools and libraries throughout New York City.

Hey, there's no reason the rest of us can't tuck poems into our pockets on Thursday morning, is there? Imagine the water-cooler conversation at your office. After your coworkers mention what they watched on television the previous night, you could surprise and delight everyone by whipping out a poem (yours or someone else's) and reading it aloud.

If you need some ideas, try the Poem-A-Day page at Or just go with this classic from Ogden Nash:

Sure, deck your lower limbs in pants;
Yours are the limbs my sweeting.
You look divine as you advance –
Have you seen yourself retreating?

For something longer, try Alexander Pope's hilarious "The Rape of the Lock." (Read this study guide first, so you won't miss any of the great jokes.)

Call me sappy and sentimental, but I like Wordsworth. You can find his complete poetical works at Bartleby, indexed by first lines.

If you'd like to carry a hideously awful poem in your pocket, try absolutely anything penned by William McGonagall.

Or this poem, which I wrote a couple of years ago.

Or just make up a poem of your own. Yes, really--go ahead. I mean, how could you possibly be any worse than McGonagall and me?

UPDATED Thursday, 8:10 PM

Hmm. I posted this thinking today was Wednesday. So I've been walking around all day without a poem in my pocket.

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