21 April 2016

Put a Poem in Your Pocket Challenge

"Poetry is a record of the life around us and in us, and you'll get a better idea from poetry what it was like to be alive in 2011 than you will from the New York Times." Garrison Keillor

The Big Sister recently learned that she loves to write poetry. With this came a new understanding of poetry and how truly wonderful poetry is. 

April 21, 2016 is national Poem In Your Pocket Day, the idea is simple: select a poem you love then carry it with you to share throughout the day. Want other ways to participate? Click here for a treasure trove, brought to you by the Academy of American Poets. (In 2016 The League of Canadian Poets have extended Poem in Your Pocket Day to Canada!)

The Put a Poem in Your Pocket Challenge is to find a poem and share it with BFWP (post it in the comments.) Then if you choose, print it, carry it in your pocket, and share it with people in honor of Poem in Your Pocket Day!

  • Visit www.poets.org. There you will find a treasure trove of information.
  • To randomly search for a poem by topic, author or first line click here for poets.org amazing search engine. On that page we found this quote: "For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences." Rainer Maria Rilke 
  • Visit this very cool interactive map to search for local poets in the USA, click here to learn more.

Now it is your turn, find a poem and share it! The Big Sister adds, "it is okay to share your own poetry!" 

Read the comments --you might like some of the poems that have been shared. Please use the following format for your comment: Title of Poem, Author, and your thoughts on the poem.

**This post was originally posted April 14, 2011 --we've updated the content and links!


  1. This is one of our favorite Springtime poems. It is perfect for RIGHT NOW, as the spring peepers begin to sing and the last bits of snow melt away (we still have snow in our yard here in the North!) It is nice and short and simple to memorize --perfect for a pocket!

    Spring Pools
    by Robert Frost

    These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
    The total sky almost without defect,
    And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
    Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
    And yet not out by any brook or river,
    But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.
    The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
    To darken nature and be summer woods---
    Let them think twice before they use their powers
    To blot out and drink up and sweep away
    These flowery waters and these watery flowers
    From snow that melted only yesterday.

  2. This is definitely a poem to share! Can you tell that we (the Four of Us) are really happy that it is spring? This winter was long (or so it seemed) and spring is like a wrapped present, slowly revealing itself to us and promising wonderful things...

    by e. e. cummings

    there are so many tictoc
    clocks everywhere telling people
    what toctic time it is for
    tictic instance five toc minutes toc
    past six tic

    Spring is not regulated and does
    not get out of order nor do
    its hands a little jerking move
    over numbers slowly

    we do not
    wind it up it has no weights
    springs wheels inside of
    its slender self no indeed dear
    nothing of the kind.

    (So,when kiss Spring comes
    we'll kiss each kiss other on kiss the kiss
    lips because tic clocks toc don't make
    a toctic difference
    to kisskiss you and to
    kiss me)

  3. I have always loved sharing Shel Silverstei's poetry with my students. This poem is one of my favorites.

    Where the Sidewalk Ends
    by Shel Silverstein

    There is a place where the sidewalk ends
    And before the street begins,
    And there the grass grows soft and white,
    And there the sun burns crimson bright,
    And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
    To cool in the peppermint wind.

    Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
    And the dark street winds and bends.
    Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
    We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
    And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
    To the place where the sidewalk ends.

    Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
    And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
    For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
    The place where the sidewalk ends.

  4. I could really relate to this poem! IT make me feel warm and cozy inside... plus I love the way poetry sounds when we read it aloud!

    I am going to add more, because there are a LOT more that I love!

    The Daffodils
    by William Wordsworth

    I wandered lonely as a cloud
    That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
    When all at once I saw a crowd,
    A host, of golden daffodils;
    Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
    Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

    Continuous as the stars that shine
    And twinkle on the Milky Way,
    They stretched in never-ending line
    Along the margin of a bay:
    Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
    Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

    The waves beside them danced, but they
    Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee:
    A Poet could not but be gay,
    In such a jocund company:
    I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
    What wealth the show to me had brought:

    For oft, when on my couch I lie
    In vacant or in pensive mood,
    They flash upon that inward eye
    Which is the bliss of solitude;
    And then my heart with pleasure fills,
    And dances with the daffodils.

  5. I wish I lived here -it is a place I'd like to be!

    The Pasture
    by Robert Frost

    I'm going out to clean the pasture spring;
    I'll only stop to rake the leaves away
    (And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
    I sha'n't be gone long.—You come too.

    I'm going out to fetch the little calf
    That's standing by the mother. It's so young,
    It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
    I sha'n't be gone long.—You come too.

  6. If I had a pocket big enough I would carry a volume of Robert Frost's Poetry around with me all the time. (I must share a comment on "The Pasture." Louise Bogan, who was herself a poet, said of it that it is probably one of the great love poems in the English language! AMEN to that!). Alas and alack, I don't have pockets big enough or abundant enough to carry all the volumes I would want with me! However, what I do have are wonderful filled pockets in my mind that I haven't even been aware of, and when an occasion or situation arises, out pops a poem! It's magical! For example, when I read this challenge, what popped up immediately was:

    A word is dead
    When it is said,
    Some say.
    I say it just
    Begins to live
    That day.
    - Emily Dickinson

    Perhaps I'll send a poem a day. Let's see what's in my pockets.

  7. and then, e.e. cummings:

    in Just-
    spring when the world is mud-
    luscious the little
    lame balloonman

    whistles far and wee

    and eddieandbill come
    running from marbles and
    piracies and it's

    when the world is puddle-wonderful

    the queer
    old balloonman whistles
    far and wee

    and bettyyandisabel come dancing

    from hop-scotch and jump-rope and



    balloonMan whistles

  8. Unfortunately, google would not let me space the far and wee lines correctly. Even when the edit was correct, when it was posted, those lines were not spaced correctly! Very frustrating! Google doesn't appreciate cummings!

  9. Anonymous7:54 PM

    Spring is the Period
    Express from God.
    Among the other seasons
    Himself abide,

    But during March and April
    None stir abroad
    Without a cordial interview
    With God.

    Emily Dickinson

    Dear BFWP folks,
    I like this poem because I like the way Emily Dickinson says a lot with just a few words. I also like it because when I walk out into our garden on a breezy March or April morning and the wind takes my hat off, I know that I am in a special conversation. The beauties and wonders of God's creation want a moment of my time. Who am I to say no?

    Bill Hickey

  10. For those with TINY pockets and BIG imaginations

    Emily Dickinson (1830–86). Complete Poems. 1924. Part Two: Nature XCVII

    To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,—
    One clover, and a bee,
    And revery.
    The revery alone will do
    If bees are few.

    Buzz, buzz!
    The Poet

  11. There's a poem by Wallace Stevens titled "Thirteen ways of Looking at a Blackbird." The first time I introduced it to a class, I ended up asking them to chose an object (not a quality, like "love") and, following Stevens's example and their own imaginations, see how many ways they could look at that object (at least 7); using figures of speech, etc. Since I tried to make it a practice of never asking my students to do something I would not do myself, I came up with the following:
    Want to give it a try?

  12. Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Willow
    by Lynn Barrett

    Willow weeps
    With a war-weary world.

    O Willow, why do you weep?
    Ophelia floats peacefully
    In the stream.

    O Willow, why do you weep?
    Listen to the laughter
    Of children playing
    Inside the tent of your branches.

    The willow is a maiden
    With tempest-tossed tresses
    Troubling the tangled turf.

    The willow is a fountain
    Of yellow-green droplets
    Filtering the slanting rays
    Of the morning sun.

    Squirrels chase each other
    Through the willow tree.
    Her limbs sway and bend.
    They do not break.

    In the heat of noontime,
    A nightingale -
    Napping -
    Nestles in the cool green niches
    Of the willow.

    The sting of the willow-switch whipping
    Will soon pass.
    Not so
    The deeper wound.

    In the gray-green of evening,
    The willow whispers wistfully
    To the winnowing wind.

    What night nuances
    Lure me to the moon-made shadows
    Of the willow?

    Whitened with winter,
    The willow waits willingly
    For spring.
    Now is a time of rest.

    The rivulet runs;
    The robin returns;
    The bluebell blooms:
    The willow wakes.

    Her roots probed deep
    To find life-giving water.

    Still the willow thirsts.

  13. Anonymous12:56 PM

    Here is one of MY Favorites:

    The Edge of the World
    by Shel Silverstein

    Columbus said the world is round?
    Don't you believe a word of that.
    For I've been down to the edge of the world,
    Sat on the edge where the wild wind whirled,
    Peeked over the ledge where the blue smoke curls,
    And I can tell you, boys and girls,
    The world is FLAT!

  14. To The Wonderful Teacher (jolynnbarrett)The Big Sister is working on 13 ways of looking at her dog or a waterfall, The Little Sister is working on butterflies or a stream and The Mom is working on 13 ways of looking at a crocus... Wonderful.

    We are printing out poems this afternoon to take and share this evening! So many wonderful poems... thank you all for sharing and MORE, Please!!

  15. Here is ANOTHER one, there are so many I like... I am sticking to the ones I like about SPRING!

    April Rain Song
    by Langston Hughes

    Let the rain kiss you.
    Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
    Let the rain sing you a lullaby.

    The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk.
    The rain makes running pools in the gutter.
    The rain plays a little sleep-song on our roof at night—

    And I love the rain.

  16. What magnificent replies; The Teacher & ALL are amazing! Mine is a quote and a question from a poem by dear friend & neighbor, Evelyn Coffee, which has meaning for this magical Time of Light!

    Amber-voiced chancel of a white soul, what holy of holies lights you?

  17. Arwen in Pointe Shoes3:03 PM

    Here is a poem from The Lord of the Rings:
    (sung by the Wood Elves in T.F.O.T.R.)

    Snow-white! Snow-white! O Lady clear!
    O Queen beyond the Western Seas!
    O Light to us that wander here
    Amid the world of woven trees!

    Gilthoniel! O Elbereth! (Elvish names for a star)
    Clear are thy eyes and bright thy breath!
    Snow-white! Snow-white! We sing to thee
    In a far land beyond the Sea.

    O stars that in the Sunless Year
    With shining hand by her were sown,
    In windy fields now bright and clear
    We see your silver blossom blown!

    O Elbereth! Gilthoniel!
    We still remember, we who dwell
    In the far land beneath the trees,
    Thy starlight on the Western Seas.

    (I just LOVE the word pictures here!)

  18. I think you punched holes in my pockets because poems are popping out!

    Robert Frost and Spring mischief:

    One of my favorite Frost poems is "Mending Wall" and I become very upset when I hear or read someone saying, "As Robert Frost says, 'Good fences make good neighbors.'." He does NOT say that! His neighbor says it and Frost says,
    Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
    If I could put a notion in his head:
    ' Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
    Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
    Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
    What I was walling in or walling out,
    And to whom I was like to give offense.
    Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
    That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
    But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
    He said it for himself. ...

    It's a longer poem, but worth the reading and thought.

    The Teacher

  19. Arwen in Pointe Shoes9:03 AM

    Here is one of my OWN poems!

    Standing upon Memory Wall,
    I hear the wind's haunting call.
    It reminds me of old stars that did shine
    and of family that once was mine.
    Grinding blow the wind did cleave,
    so that tall trees had to leave.
    I lean against the great stone fold,
    saddened with the bitter cold,
    it pierces me to the bone,
    never have I felt so alone.
    Gently do I speak to the wind girl,
    who goes about with a crying whirl.
    She tells me of summers past,
    how she once flew far and fast.
    But now away form me she goes,
    next come the remembering snows.
    Now company I cannot find,
    I pass out of time, out of mind,
    As I stand on Memory Wall,
    listening to the wind's haunting call.

  20. Arwen in Pointe Shoes love your name and we feel honored that you shared your poem (and your comments --glad to have you @BFWP!)

    We managed to pass out more than 50 copies of poems and everyone LOVED it... wish everyday was poem in your pocket day!

  21. Wanted to share a poem from my friend since 1st grade. She's a grandma now and a published writer of children's books. Nancy Spinelle wrote this when she was 19 in 1965.

    Today someone smiled at me.
    I'll add it to my treasury.
    I'll put it with the day I cried
    Along with the taste of apple pie.

    I'll put it with the star I chose
    Next to the smell of a dewy rose.
    I'll set it beside a precious daisy
    Or hang it above a summer so lazy.

    I'll put it with my favorite tree
    Beneath the sound of crunching leaves.
    I'll put it with my favorite things:
    My dolls, animals and golden rings.

    I'll put it ever so carefully there
    So that I can look whenever I care.
    It'll be with things both young and old
    With all my memories ever untold.

    Keep smiling BIG and LITTLE SISTERS....works wonders.
    the gee

  22. Here is another sweet original poem, this one by the Little Sister. She wrote it in the spring of 2010:

    The Little Sister's Springtime Poem

    The earth is sprouting grass,
    The leaves are sprouting
    and the trees are beautiful now.
    The flowers are blooming
    purple, yellow and also blue.
    The stems are bright green
    some dark green too.
    It makes me Happy.

  23. Lovely, Little Sister! Thank you. I hope it soon reflects 2011 as well.

    The Teacher

  24. Jeez, I can seem to recall why I love this poem so much... ;).

    Billy Collins

    The name of the author is the first to go
    followed obediently by the title, the plot,
    the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
    which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
    never even heard of,

    as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
    decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
    to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

    Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
    and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
    and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

    something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
    the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

    Whatever it is you are struggling to remember
    it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
    not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

    It has floated away down a dark mythological river
    whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
    well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
    who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

    No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
    to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
    No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
    out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.