Every year, April is an exciting time to celebrate one of our favorite things here at Scholastic… Poetry! During National Poetry Month, our team has shared poets we love, written original haikus, and spotlighted the impressive poetry of 2016 Scholastic Art & Writing Award winners.
Today is Poem in Your Pocket Day—an annual day spearheaded by the Academy of American Poets encouraging people to select a poem, carry it with them, and share it with others throughout the day! Whether it serves as an outlet for creative expression or as a tool to illustrate a story, poetry is a powerful literary art with endless potential. In Language Magazine, Scholastic author and 2015 Newbery Medal recipient Kwame Alexander explains, “A poem is a small but powerful thing. It has the power to reach inside you, to ignite something in you, and to change you in ways you never imagined. There is a feeling of connection and communion—with the author and with the subject—when we read a poem that articulates our deepest feelings.”
To share the power of poetry, below is a roundup of the poems that OOMers are carrying with them today! What poem do you have in your pocket? Be sure to join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #pocketpoem!
Diving Board by Shel Silverstein (carried by Alex W.)
You’ve been up on that diving board
Making sure that it’s nice and straight.
You’ve made sure that it’s not too slick.
You’ve made sure it can stand the weight.
You’ve made sure that the spring is tight.
You’ve made sure that the cloth won’t slip.
You’ve made sure that it bounces right,
And that your toes can get a grip– –
And you’ve been up there since half past five
Doin’ everything … but DIVE.
Virgins by Madeline LeCesne (carried by Julia G.)
When I was six I went to Catholic school
where nuns explained the world to us.
We were solved puzzles
of birds flying nowhere,
ensnared in a white sky.
I wondered if our hair would grow
beneath our habits. Humans
have only the five senses in common:
taste and sight, hearing and smell, touch.
All is sensation.
We stroked the beads
around our necks-- devout femininity.
They let us outside.
The sky overtook us--
that cloud must be heaven,
I said. We kept spinning
and I found others,
crying when every cloud
began to look just like salvation.
Given by Joanna Klink (carried by Megan K.)
And I carried to that emptiness
between us the birds
that had been calling out
all night. I carried an old
bicycle, a warm meal,
some time to talk.
I would have brought
them to you sooner
but was afraid your own
hopelessness would keep you
crouched there. If you spring up,
let it not be against me
but like a weed or a
fountain. I grant you
the hard spine of your
childhood. I grant you
the frowning arc of this morning.
If I could I would grant you
a bright throat and even
brighter eyes, this whole hill
of olive trees, its
calmness of purpose.
Let me not forget
ever what I owe you.
I have loved the love
you felt for those gardens
and I would grant you
the always steadying
presence of seeds.
I bring to that trouble
between us a bell that might
blur into air. I bring the woods
and a sense of what lives there.
Like you, I turn to sunlight for
answers. Like you, I am
not sure where it has gone.
Think Like They Book Say by Saul Williams (handwritten poem carried by Deimosa W.)
Footnote to Howl by Allen Ginsberg (also carried by Deimosa W.)
Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
The world is holy! The soul is holy! The skin is holy! The nose is holy! The tongue and cock and hand and asshole holy!
Everything is holy! everybody’s holy! everywhere is holy! everyday is in eternity! Everyman’s an angel!
The bum’s as holy as the seraphim! the madman is holy as you my soul are holy!
The typewriter is holy the poem is holy the voice is holy the hearers are holy the ecstasy is holy!
Holy Peter holy Allen holy Solomon holy Lucien holy Kerouac holy Huncke holy Burroughs holy Cassady holy the unknown buggered and suffering beggars holy the hideous human angels!
Holy my mother in the insane asylum! Holy the cocks of the grandfathers of Kansas!
Holy the groaning saxophone! Holy the bop apocalypse! Holy the jazzbands marijuana hipsters peace peyote pipes & drums!
Holy the solitudes of skyscrapers and pavements! Holy the cafeterias filled with the millions! Holy the mysterious rivers of tears under the streets!
Holy the lone juggernaut! Holy the vast lamb of the middleclass! Holy the crazy shepherds of rebellion! Who digs Los Angeles IS Los Angeles!
Holy New York Holy San Francisco Holy Peoria & Seattle Holy Paris Holy Tangiers Holy Moscow Holy Istanbul!
Holy time in eternity holy eternity in time holy the clocks in space holy the fourth dimension holy the fifth International holy the Angel in Moloch!
Holy the sea holy the desert holy the railroad holy the locomotive holy the visions holy the hallucinations holy the miracles holy the eyeball holy the abyss!
Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith! Holy! Ours! bodies! suffering! magnanimity!
Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul!
Spring Azures by Mary Oliver (carried by Morgan)
In spring the blue azures bow down
at the edges of shallow puddles
to drink the black rain water.
Then they rise and float away into the fields.
Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy,
and all the tricks my body knows―
the opposable thumbs, the kneecaps,
and the mind clicking and clicking—
don’t seem enough to carry me through this world
and I think: how I would like
to have wings—
ribbons of flame.
How I would like to open them, and rise
from the black rain water.
And then I think of Blake, in the dirt and sweat of London—a boy
staring through the window, when God came
Of course, he screamed,
and seeing the bobbin of God’s blue body
leaning on the sill,
and the thousand-faceted eyes.
Well, who knows.
Who knows what hung, fluttering, at the window
between him and the darkness.
Anyway, Blake the hosier’s son stood up
and turned away from the sooty sill and the dark city—
turned away forever
from the factories, the personal strivings,
to a life of the the imagination.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost (carried by Brittany S.)
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Spring Azures by Mary Oliver