I spent a while Wednesday night at Buffalo General Hospital with a friend whose elderly mother had been admitted with a serious condition. The friend is a literary sort, and, although she's been preoccupied with her mother's failing health, she found time to print out poems for her various visiting friends. Mine was Walt Whitman's "Miracles." Someone else got John Keats.
Why? Because, as part of National Poetry Month, this is "Poem in Your Pocket" day. The idea is that you find a poem you love, carry it around and share it with friends, co-workers and family members. (And yes, a certain famous Mae West line about a gun does come to mind, but let's leave that be.)
Here's NPR's take on the day and its purpose.
I'm especially partial to William Butler Yeats' "The Second Coming" and T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," though I wouldn't be at all averse to something from recent Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith's "Life on Mars," particularly "My God, It's Full of Stars."
The "poem in your pocket" concept is unassailable. I folded up the paper my friend handed me and tucked it away. I'll be carrying "Miracles" around all day.
Here's Tracy K. Smith on PBS, explaining the science-fiction inspiration of her prize-winning book and reading from "My God, It's Full of Stars."