Thursday, April 26, 2012

Poem in Your Pocket Day 2012

                                  Poems to Read to the Very Young
Selected by: Josette Frank
Illustrated by: Dagmar Wilson
Copyright 1961, by Random House, Inc.
A book of children's poems with wonderful illustrations, celebrating everyday happenings and special events in a child's world.

Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day!
You may remember I posted a link to it here.
There is so much information at the link to inspire you!

In honor of April being 'National Poetry Month' and in celebration of this one particular day to carry a poem with you, I decided to post this video to share a couple of poems with you.
This was one of my favorite books as a child.  It is also the book I used when a grade school teacher assigned the task of memorizing 5 poems and then reciting one (or maybe it was all) of them in front of the class.  I can still remember one of them.

Drinking Fountain
When I climb up
To get a drink,
It doesn't work
The way you'd think.

I turn it up.
The water goes 
And hits me right
Upon the nose.

I turn it down
To make it small
And don't get any 
Drink at all.
-by Marchette Chute

 Don't you love that?  Don't you remember the playground drinking fountains?  The water came up so Hot at first!  But after you let it run cold, it would quietly bubble out, falling in a space obviously used by too many, its stale familiar taste just enough to quench your thirst.
Before filming the video, I sat and read aloud all my old favorites.  There were moments where I knew I was the one reading, but felt my mom's voice coming through.  I remember her reading these to me.  Magic.

I walked through the house and picked up the books of poetry I saw.  An odd little assortment, as I don't own a huge library of poetry.   Some of them belonging to my mother, some to the young me, and some to the teacher me.  My mom gave me the copy of Edna St. Vincent Millay, so I could "travel more".  I was 10.5 years old.  I never really fell in love with it though (maybe I was too young at the time).  I loved her book 'Here I Am', as it was the late 1960's-early 1970's and the words were fueled with rebellion, and searching and rage, which every teen understands!  Between my favorites and the ones she used teaching jr. high, I think every other page is dog-eared!!!  Anyway,  I have always said that I am not a huge fan of poetry, but it seems I remember more favorites than I thought I would.  I am not a fan of what I call Hallmark poetry.  This is the overly rhyming, saccharine sweet words you may find held inside a greeting card.  The kind that says it all, so therefore leaves nothing to the imagination.  I think I liked the rhyming text more as a child when I was learning to make sense of this different form of writing.  So, I of course still hold those dear to my heart, they are my youth (like the one above).  I also am not a fan of the very long poem that requires hours of concentration to even begin to understand it!  I like the kind that that speaks to me directly on a heart-deep level. 
Here is the poem in my pocket today.

And in case you can't read my writing, here it is again:

Suddenly I open up.
Everything settles down,
This blade of grass I call myself
Roots in the sounds
Honking geese, silence
Ticking clock
Incense smoke
Fading light
Wonderfully full.
I am a blade of grass,
Rooted here tonight
Grounded in these moments
Of wild bird flight.
It’s here I claim my origin
And like a blade of grass
I bend and twist and live and die
In all that rushes past
Snow, ice, driving rain
Sun, stars
Pleasure, pain
Darkness, light
And on it goes with all of life.
-Hetty Baiz

I saw this poem online one day, many years ago.  It has been in my memory ever since.  My mother said she didn't like it much, but I don't recall why.  I think it was something about being too cliche. But I do like it and I've decided that's what really matters about poetry.  Does a poem speak to You?  That's all that counts.  She loved Edna St. Vincent Millay, which is probably why she gifted me with this book when I was a young sprout!  I have discovered a few poets online that I seem to really enjoy.  You can find them here, here and here.  These are the first ones that came to mind, there are others I'm sure.  
Do you enjoy poetry?  Which authors do you like?
What poem is in your pocket today?

Photos by NAE @pomegranatetrail ©2012


deanna7trees said...

i remember you saying in the past that you were not much into poetry, but you are much more into it than i am. i love the written word but in poetic form, not so much. no poems in my pocket.

Nancy said...

I know, huh? I always say that! Today was intentional focus on poetry...I'll forget about it again tomorrow, til I again stumble onto something I like :)
Maybe I should use words link limited or select!

Ms. said...

Love Millay and Neruda, Dickinson, and Videlock, Oliver, and
hundreds more, but I'm carrying my own poem in my pocket today:

Nancy said...

Michelle~ Thank you for sharing your own poem :)

Anonymous said...

GrassRoots... what a great poem!
it puts me in mind of the 'where i'm from' that you and i discussed on my blog.

jenclair said...

I love poetry! Dylan Thomas, Millay, Dickinson, John Donne, Gerard Manley Hopkins...and so many more.

No poem in the pocket, but I did read some of Jack Perlutsky's children's poems to Bryce Eleanor today.

I like the poem you carried in your pocket! If I had remembered, I would have carried Dylan Thomas' "In My Craft or Sullen Art" -- but I know that one by heart, so maybe that's where I carried it.

Deb G said...

I love poetry and a large part of my "library" is books of poetry. I still have a very tattered book of poetry that I picked out from a scholastic book order when I was nine. I love music a lot too...they are very similar to me. I have an awful time picking favorites, but one is Wendell Berry.

woman with wings said...

Nancy, now I know your voice! I loved that you made this video. I might join in next year, I saw this too late. Haven't really had much of a draw to poetry but think it's from lack of exposure. When I have time to read, I read. Poetry is reading AND reflecting and takes more time, I think?? xo

Nancy said...

Oh I've been so bad about answering! Sorry everyone!

Coppercreaker~ Yes it does. I wonder what other living being we could write from the perspective of (if that makes sense)

Jenclair~ Ah yes, Jack Perlutsky! My son enjoyed his work.

Deb~ I noticed that the binding of my old book is falling apart :( I actually discovered Wendell Berry from and end quote on one of the guy's favorite crime shows!! Haha

Peggy~ Yep it's me! But, you knew that from my first video :) It is a different kind of reading and I do get bored if it's too much work for sure!

helen said...

This is such a treat Nancy. I have had the biggest smile on my face as I listened to your lovely voice, and how you stroked the pages...oh...and you have beautiful hands and handwriting. Your photo of your poetry books and the pocket with its poem is great. I have not come across Hetty Baiz and just tried to look for her far I have only found an artist from Australia (I think). Do you have a book name I could look up...I liked your 'poem in your pocket' very much.

I love poetry...always have. Writing it and reading it. It was the great classics for me when I was growing up, and I still love Wordsworth, Keats, Yates, Shelley and so many more...but when I discovered Mary Oliver and Pablo Neruda, Dickinson, Frost, Whitman and, again, many more, I felt I'd come home.

I ordered Mary Oliver's 'Swan' last week. It arrived on is wonderful. Her poems give me the same feeling as Jude's cloth....I wrote in my journal that she is the Jude Hill of poetry!

Thank you for this so great post and apologies for whittering on for so long!!

Nancy said...

And I smiled as I read you 'whittering on'!!!
I wish I remembered where I saw that poem. I too googled her and discovered that I believe the artist and the poet are one and the same. If I can figure out how I came to that conclusion, I'll email you, but do poke around a bit as you may find it too.
I liked the Poem in Your Pocket Day too. That Reading Rockets link shares great stuff.
I once checked out all of the Mary Oliver books (most had doubles on the shelf) at the library! Needless to say I did not have time to read them all, but I was so excited by her.
Yes...'the Jude Hill of poetry'...there is that same comfortable feel to her work, I know what you mean.
Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

PS If you want to, you can go back to this post and I'll read you another story!