As you surely know, the Academy of American Poets has christened today National Poem in Your Pocket Day. The idea is to take poetry to the streets, carrying a poem with you, in your jacket or pants as well as in your imagination. Let the words linger. Let them play with you. Take an extra copy and pass the good word along to an unsuspecting coworker or seatmate on the bus.
I asked my friend (and one of my favorite poets) John Blase to pen us a short verse that we could carry with us today. He was generous to oblige. Tuck this away, take it with you.
A Fine Thing
A poem is a fine thing
to carry around in your pocket,
that and a few pennies to hand
children having complete nuclear
meltdowns near grocery store doors
because their exhausted mothers
don’t have any small change for
Champion the mechanized stallion.
Just smile and say ‘here ya go’
then walk away. If you linger
you’ll break the spell of kindness,
and shame will worm its way in
to cheapen your gift. Most people
live on the shame aisle. So just go
on about your business and leave
a mother and a child charmed.