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Poem in Your Pocket Day

April is National Poetry Month, inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. According to the Academy it has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture.
            And as a part of it, today is Poem in Your Pocket Day. People are encouraged to carry a poem with them and share it with others throughout the day. Parks, libraries, schools, workplaces and bookstores will have events. In past years, librarians have distributed poems to local hospitals, shop owners have handed out books of short poems to shoppers, and food vendors have put poems in lunch sacks.
            Now I can see the potential for this to be annoying. If every step you took all day someone was stopping you to read a poem, you might get testy. But I like the idea of pockets full of poems. So here’s a favorite of mine.

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.


  1. What a great idea for a day! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Love this. Would have a hard time choosing one. :)


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