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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Actually, April is the Coolest Month

April is National Poetry Month. How delightful that there's a month dedicated to celebrating words and meaning-making. Those things deserve to be celebrated. 

Better still, within National Poetry Month there's a day called Poem in Your Pocket Day. This year, it falls on Thursday, April 24th. On that day, people are meant to carry a poem in their pockets to periodically share with others. That way, people can enjoy a poem for its own sake and come together over meaningful words. 

I enjoyed doing that so much that now I take it a step further because I want to help spread that fun around. 

My good friend Jenny--scientist, mother, and children's books lover-- has a wonderful blog called Books, Babies, and Bows ( where she celebrates the wonders that can be found in children's literature (not to mention the joys and lessons of reading with one's kids)! She asked me to write a guest post for her blog explaining how I celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day, and I was thrilled to share my story. I encourage you to check out her blog, and while you're there, you can read my post (published today). 

Of course, I still carry a poem in my pocket. Here's the poem that resonated with me this year, and the one I'll have in my pocket on the 24th:

The World Seems... by Gregory Orr

The world seems so palpable
And dense: people and things
And the landscapes 
They inhabit or move through. 

Words, on the other hand, 
Are so abstract--they're
Made of empty air
Or black scratches on a page
That urge us to utter 
Certain sounds. 
                         And us:
Poised in the middle, aware
 Of the objects out there
Waiting patiently to be named,
As if the right words 
Could save them.  
                           And don't
They deserve it? 
So much hidden inside each one,
Such a longing
To become the beloved.

And inside us: the sounds
That could extend that blessing --
How they crowd our mouths,
How they press up against
Our lips, which are such
A narrow exit for a joy so desperate. 

I hope you'll celebrate this year, too. Find whatever words speak to you and carry them with you on the 24th. If you're inspired to do more, wonderful. If not, just having those words with you is enough. No matter what, though, enjoy the day. I know I will.

Last night as I was drifting off to sleep, I was thinking about making a cake to add to the excitement of the day. I pictured making a 13x9 rectangular cake and cutting the two corners off the bottom so that it forms a V shape down there, like it's coming to a point. That way, it would sort of look like a pocket. I'd ice it--likely in vanilla because that's my favorite, plus it's white which is a nice backdrop for any text I might pipe on there. Though, I'll admit I did consider tinting it blue so that it looked more like a denim pocket, but decided against it.--and decorate it with my special decorating tips, piping in some sugary stitching to add more authenticity to the pocket look. Then, I'd pipe "Poem in Your Pocket" on there in another color. And then for the best part: I'd get some of those plastic things they use in flower arrangements to hold the card, and poke them out of the cake. In each one, I'd have a poem on some card stock. It would look so cute. When people cut into the confection--and, of course, no one would want to cut into such a lovely cake, but they would because cake is meant to be eaten--they'd hit the jackpot because they'd get a slice of cake AND a poem. Perfection on a plate!

(What? You don't create imaginary cakes in your head as you fall asleep? Oh, well, you should; it gives the phrase "sweet dreams" a whole new meaning!)

Anyway, I still might make that cake. If I can find some of those plastic things...


  1. I would love to see that cake! Thanks for writing the post on my blog! I can't wait to try passing out those poems for people to put in their pocket.

  2. Did your case against the district ever come up? How did it turn out?
    I'm very interested since a friend of mine who was high on the salary scale with their district magically had a series of "unsatisfactory" ratings after 20 years of perfect evaluations. They were trying to dump salary and the union just stepped aside and let them have him.


    1. Adam,

      I'm sorry to hear about your friend's situation. I know first-hand how it feels to come into the cross-hairs of a district out to make a cut.
      It's disheartening, frightening, and unethical when district's stoop to manipulating the system in their own favor (and, incidentally, one of the many reasons merit-pay is such a terrible idea...) Unfortunately, it's all-too-common a practice. And weak unions are another issue. When they do what they're intended to do, they're great. But weak ones who won't help their members or who don't follow protocol or who let personal feelings about the situation play any role in their actions to help are a problem. Advise your friend to check to make sure his union rights were upheld; if they weren't, and the union truly shirked its due-diligence duties, he may be able to bring a case against them. No member should be left alone without the benefits of representation.

      I wish I could offer more insight to you for your friend. My case is still ongoing; the process is long and slow-moving.

      Best wishes.


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