National Poetry Month is an April-long celebration and was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. In 2002, The Academy of American Poets encouraged people across the country to participate in Poem in Your Pocket Day selecting, carrying and sharing a #pocketpoem with others at schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, workplaces, etc.
In celebration of Poem in Your Pocket Day, I asked OOM contributors to share some of their favorite pocket-sized poems. And if you're still in the mood for poetry, check out 11 books to read this Poetry Month.
Submitted by Lera
Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
Submitted by Mackenzie
An excerpt from Nuclear Spring by Marina Keegan
So what I’m trying to say is you
should text me back.
Because there’s a precedent. Be-
cause there’s an urgency.
Because there’s a bedtime.
Because when the world ends I
might not have my phone
If you don’t respond soon,
I won’t know if you’d wanna leave
your shadow next to mine.
Submitted by Lauren
The Black Art by Anne Sexton
A woman who writes feels too much,
those trances and portents!
As if cycles and children and islands weren’t enough;
as if mourners and gossips
and vegetables were never enough.
She thinks she can warn the stars.
A writer is essentially a spy.
Dear love, I am that girl.
In a Station of the Metro by Ezra Pound
The apparition of these faces in the crowd:
Petals on a wet, black bough.
Submitted by Carmen
Río Grande de Loíza by Julia de Burgos, translated by Jack Agüeros
Río Grande de Loíza!... Elongate yourself in my spirit
and let my soul lose itself in your rivulets,
finding the fountain that robbed you as a child
and in a crazed impulse returned you to the path.
Coil yourself upon my lips and let me drink you,
to feel you mine for a brief moment,
to hide you from the world and hide you in yourself,
to hear astonished voices in the mouth of the wind.
Dismount for a moment from the loin of the earth,
and search for the intimate secret in my desires;
confuse yourself in the flight of my bird fantasy,
and leave a rose of water in my dreams.
Submitted by Allyson
Permanently by Kenneth Koch
One day the Nouns were clustered in the street.
An Adjective walked by, with her dark beauty.
The Nouns were struck, moved, changed.
The next day a Verb drove up, and created the Sentence.
Each Sentence says one thing—for example, “Although it was a dark rainy day when
the Adjective walked by, I shall remember the pure and sweet expression on her face
until the day I perish from the green, effective earth."
Or, “Will you please close the window, Andrew?”
Or, for example, “Thank you, the pink pot of flowers on the window sill has changed color
recently to a light yellow, due to the heat from the boiler factory which exists nearby.”
In the springtime the Sentences and the Nouns lay silently on the grass.
A lonely Conjunction here and there would call, “And! But!”
But the Adjective did not emerge.
As the Adjective is lost in the sentence,
So I am lost in your eyes, ears, nose, and throat—
You have enchanted me with a single kiss
Which can never be undone
Until the destruction of language.
Submitted by Loribelle
An excerpt from MammaSea and Me by Anasuya Isaacs
I stand at the edge of the ocean.
The roar of the crashing waves
hypnotically invite me to swi with the dolphis and with MammaSea.
I allow the waves to swallow me whole
To pull me deep into MammaSea's bosom
To take me away
so that no one can ask me what's wrong
so that I can't see that no one ask me what's wrong
so that I can't hear that no one asks me what's wrong
so that I can act like nothing is wrong
... for now