THIS THURSDAY, April 18, is Poem in Your Pocket Day. It’s a day when ordinary folks do unusual, unexpected things . . . when beautiful and noble thoughts are hidden away just out of sight, tucked inside a common exterior (in this case, probably denim). All this reminds me of one of my favorite heroes: The Scarlet Pimpernel.
If you and your family have not yet read the classic novel by Baroness Orczy, run to the library right now because you’re in for a treat. Then, why not join me in making Poem in Your Pocket Day 2013 a day to remember – Scarlet Pimpernel style!
Choose a Verse for Poem in Your Pocket Day
If possible, visit the home of an old, mysterious relative. Ask to see their library, and pull the oldest book of poetry off of the dustiest bookshelf you can find. A yellowed page with long-forgotten pressed flowers should provide the perfect passage for Poem in Your Pocket Day.
Or, consider one of these ideas:
- Explore the pages of a poetry collection from your own shelves, such as The Random House Book of Poetry for Children or Favorite Poems Old and New.
- Search through the poetry section in your favorite literature anthology.
- Flip through a devotional book until you find a short, inspiring poem.
- Younger members of your family might enjoy choosing poems from Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses.
Write It Down
Now it’s time to copy your poem by hand (using a quill pen, of course). For an extra splash of adventure, try one of these projects on for size:
- Write your poem on a white piece of paper, and carefully fold it into a square note. Then, ask an experienced adult to singe the edges with a match, candle, or stove flame. Now, it will appear that you have saved a precious poem from destruction by fire.
- Make a tiny scroll. Write down your poem, roll the paper tightly, and tie it with a red ribbon. Others might just believe that you are carrying a royal announcement in your coat lining.
- Make a tiny book. If you feel especially inspired, give it a cloth cover (leather or silk are preferred). Write one line of your poem on each page. Now, dip the edge of each page in water. This will make your pocket poetry book appear to be a relic of several long ocean voyages.
What to Do With It
The whole point of Poem in Your Pocket Day is to share the wonder and grace of poetry with others.
You can always share your poem selection on Twitter—the modern, up-to-date way—using the hashtag #pocketpoem. However, I think the Scarlet Pimpernel would have especially approved of the following methods:
- Mail your poem to a dear and faraway friend. Tell your friend that you carried this poem in your pocket for a whole day, and you thought of your friend every hour.
- Place your poem in a sea-worthy bottle, and set the bottle afloat. Someday, someone will find this beautiful poem, and wonder for years to come about the person who sent it.
- Read your poem and say it to yourself until you have it memorized. When someone asks about your day at the dinner table, you can reply something like this:
I went out to the hazel wood, / Because a fire was in my head, / And cut and peeled a hazel wand, / And hooked a berry to a thread; / And when white moths were on the wing, / And moth-like stars were flickering out, / I dropped the berry in a stream / And caught a little silver trout. (William Butler Yeats, “The Song of a Wandering Aengus”)
You can also check out these Poem in Your Pocket Day ideas.
How will you celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day 2013? Leave a comment and let us know if you joined in on the fun!
Daniella Dautrich is a WriteShop alumna and a graduate of Hillsdale College. She and her husband fill their home with books on writing, literature, and computer science. Daniella blogs at www.waterlilywriter.wordpress.com.
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Photo: Jay Tamboli, courtesy of Creative Commons.