My favorite part of the month-long celebration is the Poem in Your Pocket Day, celebrated on Thursday, April 26. On this day you are encouraged to select a poem and carry it with you, sharing it with others that you meet. (hashtag #pocketpoem). There is just something I love about handwriting out a poem, tucking it into my pocket and then sharing it with others. It requires some thoughtfulness to select the perfect poem and then some courage to pull it out and share it.
Poem in Your Pocket Day was first celebrated in April 2002 in New York City. In 2008, the Academy of American Poets spread the celebration to all fifty states and in 2016, the League of Canadian Poets joined in.
I've been thinking of what poem I want to tuck in my pocket on Thursday. At first, I was sure I'd pick one from my three favorite living poets: Mary Oliver, Billy Collins or Wendell Berry. I was leaning toward one that I've shared with you before: perhaps Mary Oliver's Green, Green is my Sister's House or maybe Billy Collins' The Lanyard, or maybe Wendell Berry's To Know the Dark.
But instead, I think I'll share one from a poet that I recently discovered: Jeanne Lohmann.
Questions Before Dark
Day ends, and before sleep
when the sky dies down, consider
your altered state: has this day
changed you? Are the corners
sharper or rounded off? Did you
live with death? Make decisions
that quieted? Find one clear word
that fit? At the sun’s midpoint
did you notice a pitch of absence,
bewilderment that invites
the possible? What did you learn
from things you dropped and picked up
and dropped again? Did you set a straw
parallel to the river, let the flow
carry you downstream?
I love the part about finding one clear word that fits and the one about whether my corners are sharper or rounded off. And of course, the last line reminds my of playing Poohsticks.
So, my question for you is what poem will you pick to put in your pocket?