11:59 PM EST
Carry a poem with you on April 27th to share with family and friends.
Submit your poem in your pocket and it will be featured here, on our website. We will also post some of your poems on our social media on April 27th!
Poem in Your Pocket Day is an international movement that encourages people to centre poetry within their daily interactions. On PIYP Day, select a poem, carry it with you, and share it with others.
Keep watch on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter on April 27th for your poem:
Facebook: @WaltWhitmanBirthplaceAssociation | Instagram: @waltwhitmanbirthplace | Twitter: @wwbirthplace
Poem In Your Pocket Submissions
Song of the Open Road
Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.
Entered by: Cynthia Shor, WWBA Executive Director
The Beautiful Ugliness of Being
The body buzzes electric,
pulse of life, beating of heart,
rush of blood, rhythm of breath,
All intermingled, a symphony apart.
Celebrate the self, the soul, the spirit,
The endless possibilities,
of all we can be,
The dynamism of diversity,
the power of difference,
A grand tapestry,
of you and me.
I am the dirt beneath my feet,
The sun that blinds my eyes,
the wind ruining my hair,
I am the earth and sky, the mountains, worms, and fleas,
All that is, and all that can be,
I see the universe in all its glory,
In every weary face, every smile,
In every tear, in every story,
I find my own, and I’m beguiled
a part of all that is,
A thread in the fabric of life,
Connected to every thing,
In a world of wonder, a world of strife.
I celebrate this gift of being
And all the chaos it entails,
we are one,
and we are many,
And in all our ugliness,
She breathes out Water.
A flood of food with music
pours into loops. Colorful tunes
swings Her body towards the sun:
an orchestra in bloom.
Her feet make a beat.
In the heat of it all
sweat slips n’ slides beneath Her eyes.
She breathes in Life;
shuffled mountains in waves,
kissed the moon in all its shades;
She Untethered, never the one to pass blame
breathes out Water
breathes in Life
dances to Her delights;
among the stars of the night
She reflects the greatest Light.
Nathalie E. Amazan
The face of Walt Whitman
Dripping down the window pane,
the face of Walt Whitman
etched in rain,
his beard spilling
to the sill
in the pointillist light
of a cold, gray day.
What do you have to say
as I wait
for the changes to come,
the cloud-break, the sun,
if only I’m patient, if only we
get past the next one,
and the next one,
and the one after that…
all the small trials,
some so petty
they don’t belong
in any poem,
not even yours?
“My body betrayed me” my father said
The rugged but,sensitive farmer turned accountant /bookkeeper said.
Hand to aching head he massaged his temples.
Allergies laid his sinus cavities especially low.
Off to fresh Vermont, not ski ,but breath
Betrayal in the ether,
Country gone to Nazis
America my honest beloved.
Alice Byrne LCSW CGP FAGPA
make a wish.
Your hopes can come true.
If a young poet can write “Heart Songs”,
you can write the story of your life.
If saints can find food on the side of the road, you can bake a batter of Christmas cake.
If a president can build homes for the homeless,
you can construct years of happiness.
If guides directed explorers through continents,
you can reveal the way to a child.
Because like them …
you are a hero
and heroes make wishes!
Paula Curci, Nassau County Poet Laureate
If Only I Could Draw
I would release all the words
stored up in my language house
to be snagged by another poet or songwriter.
Please, have at them.
I’d much prefer to show than tell you,
but pictures turn to verse
before my clumsy hands
can guide them onto canvas.
So I am left with words —
nocturnal, feral. They paw
through sleep’s deep layers,
clamor for attention, then
bunch up silent in a sunlit corner.
When I poke at them, they scamper off,
taunt me into a game of hide-and-seek.
Long after I’ve lost interest, they turn up
again with those sad eyes, looking
to be welcomed home.
A ribbed fabric sky
folds the midday light
into layered stripes,
yellow and dust
accenting new-green fuzz
on old-black branches.
The sun wanders off to watch the show.
Clouds take center stage,
their deep gray pockets filled
The rain they let fall
clings to newborn leaves.
Each drop sparkles with delight
when the sun steps out again
from the rainbowed shadows.
Zahara (no. 137 of Women’s names sensual series)
Please don’t wake the woman
who’s sleeping on the 1 train.
Her houndstooth trousers & gray sweater
are still clean, if a little worn,
& she’s got some chopped apples & blueberries
safely housed in a plastic container,
a half-eaten yogurt in a plain carton,
& a Yerba drink waiting on the floor
on this drizzly Sunday morning.
Only if you are a doctor,
or a well-meaning subway worker,
please don’t disturb her.
She’s keeping the peace,
Mr. Police Officer—
please don’t disturb her dreaming;
the train is rocking in her sleep.
Who cares if she’s a vagrant
or a wayward woman
carrying the weight of the world?
It looks like she hasn’t slept
for a hundred years—
a hard-enough life is finally
catching up with her.
Please let her sleep.
Don’t steal her breakfast or her gold,
or her knockoff Swatch
with a white plastic band on her wrist.
Her arms are crossed
upon her chest
as she rests—
Let her go; she’ll be okay.
I hope she is okay—
Please God, watch after her.
Carrie Magness Radna
The seed removes its rough scored coat
Deep in dark earth,
Investing the soil with beauty.
Celebration shoots out in bright green leaves,
Sunshine laughs with growing promise,
Tendrils tie faith to the harvest.
O happy reign!
At Huntington Station with Whitman
“You shall possess the origin of all poems here”
As grey light filtered
we counted the steps –
across uncarpeted floors
where shadows and
whispered his song
in rooms of Prussian blue
Kate McCarroll Moore
With wings in flight,
Silent it arrives.
A mysterious sight,
As it gently lands,
Upon the flower.
Its wings are spread,
Yellow and black.
As thin as thread,
Yet strong to fly,
For miles and miles.
It feeds a while,
Flower to flower.
Causing us to smile,
At its beauty,
As it dances in the breeze.
Silent on its journey,
Through distant travels.
It has an untold story,
Which can’t be shared,
And remains a mystery.
Poem in your pocket day
poem in my pocket day
poem in my heart
poem on my lips
poetry fills the sky
with crystal possibilities
poetry fills the garden
with blooming verifications
poetry fills a night sky
with a thousand twinkling smiles.
Keep poetry alive
feed poetry vibrant moments
read poetry every chance you get.
Poem in my pocket
poem in your pocket
J R Turek
Ithaca. The waiting
And then I came to Ithaca
with my white mask.
I walked by the shore and along the cliffs,
among the olive trees.
And then I entered into the clear blue water.
I wanted to get lost in the embrace of the waves,
listening their stories and telling mine.
I fell asleep on seaweed, it was soft, smelling brackish.
I dreamed and talked with the shadows,
they knew everything about me and Penelope,
she who is always in the words or in the looks of others,
she who is always in lands foreign to me,
they knew that I came to Ithaca for her.
I was looking for her but I found Odysseus waiting.
For My Grandfather (“At Whitman’s House at Close of Day—”)
You probably don’t remember — that’s OK.
I was that kid-kind of miserable when we left the store,
And you said why aren’t you saying anything,
And I told you about the book I didn’t finish,
And you said I’ll buy it for you.
And I have my prize in hand — I am
That kid-kind of selfish when we reach our destination,
A wooden house across the way in the memory of
The local boy, the favorite son, the poet,
Who wrote of eagles’ beaks and grasses’ leaves,
And announc’d of all to all himself,
Container of multitudes (like you, as many sides as polyhedral).
I don’t know who he is — he is old (with a
Beard like a wizard, and my book is about wizards,)
And you do not try to distract me.
You let me listen, as you listen
To me; you are the unraveler of woes despite your woes,
The analyzer of symphonies and sympathies; and, in time, I listen.
And there are you and I: —
The unpeopl’d but unempty hallways wandering,
The house wherein the poet spent his boyhood exploring,
What ev’ry docent learns and teaches learning,
The device “sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite,”
As if it is the unplumbable secret.
But do I care? And, again, but do I care?
Sometimes I care and sometimes I do not —
I am not a poet, but my head abounds
With figures and with images and tales,
And lo! a secret passage and a secret calmness
Of you and me as hours sigh and day loses its light.
And there are two of us and Spirit Sancti,
There at the close of the day, and I think looking back
The employees were glad to be rid of us. —
But that’s OK. You brought me there
Because you thought I ought to know.
You bought me a book because you,
Sphinx, solver and keeper of mysteries,
Holder of angles ever expanding,
Singing, sighing, misunderstanding, understanding, knowing
God and man and oak for a moment,
Want to be with me for that moment.
I know that now. I wish
I knew that then. But I was a child, and
To be with you at Whitman’s house at close of day was poetry.
Karl J. Salzmann
her pocket poem
had dried roses
she wrote on occasion
it was the quiet cool wind
who kissed violin
into her skin
and silver bells summoned
the frail poem
to be washed ashore
the severed bottles
fragments of gold
the twisting winding
crevices of timing
i was only trying
to see what i could find
i was a spy
a spy of your findings
with narrow road and
slithering snake highways
your eyes are forged
by crystal caves
moon lit shadows
for you the world
is on display
The Blanche DuBois of Westbury
Life often feels like
the slow, deliberate pace
of automatic revolving doors
when a stranger turns
and smiles or waves
I suddenly feel free
sprung loose from circular infinity
fierce, almost ten feet tall
my mind tries to shake
the cacophony of cliches
born of this random event
it costs nothing to be kind
a smile lights up darkness
blah blah blah
I shake my head
drink a cup of cynicism
while stuck in that revolving door
who hasn’t, at some point,
depended on the
kindness of strangers?
Sherri London Pastolove
The Women Gather
Entered by: Sherri London Pastolove
Poetry forms letters
tell us a story,
the scent of lavender
a horse’s neigh
a Morning Glory.
Stanzas and couplets
rhymes and reasons
the use of all
the four seasons.
Honor the living
elegy the dying
sonnets like bonnets
classical, not lying.
Free verse the meanings
hearts are still beating.
Sestina is what you meana
inside 39 lines.
Ghazal will say inside
ten instead of in nine.
Haiku ties the shoe
in seventeen syllables
Tanka is when we wanta
say it in a few more.
So many poetry forms
Ballad’s a story
ABAB in its glory.
Acrostic letters form
Metaphors are proud.
All these formations
inside one’s pocket
kept close like this
special golden locket.
Portrait in Black and white
at the bar
on a lady in a white dress
I am awakened (by lovely sounds.)
The birds are
in the rain.
Winter in Madrid 2008-2009
The clouds were
stuffed and puffed and blackened
for days on end, weeks on end.
It was a long time of dark skies
and grey black(ended) clouds.
(Finally) after a long time
the rain began to squeeze out,
first in drops and there came a loud
explosion and the/a deluge began.çIt rained and rained and rained.
We all got wet.
Entered by: Jose Luis Delgado Guitart
in another place
the lights dimmed
and then brightened a little later
and then went through it
again and again and again
until daylight came
and the switch was turned off,
then the sun beat down for hours on end.
there was no relenting
until (once more) nighttime came.
it was still hot
but the lights dimmed and
brightened in a pattern of: off and
on, on and off, giving a feeling
of time stopping and
Entered by: Jose Luis Delgado Guitart
The Language of Fog
pale calligraphy curls
around Japanese maples
through zebra grass
slithers in the woods
along the brook gurgling down
to ferny wetlands
swashes, flourishes, ligatures
layered and elemental
all blurred edges—limb, leaf, loam
and soft vowels
the tenseless now
of what’s behind it
holly unberried in the mist
And it was at that age … Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don’t know how or when,
no they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.
I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.
And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.
Entered by: Robert Savino
I STAND ALONE
My three daughters have a bond,
the result of my actions, but solely their own.
Shared trust, their survival,
and also my envy.
I’m forbidden the laughter
in clever use for their mending.
Personally blessed with a mom’s natural instinct,
I still flounder in a fogged absence that blinds.
Maternal yearning daily
is my monotonous conflict.
Acrimony, my prison,
bi-polar depression, my disease.
Inside my core, a cultivated wit, the truth of me lives;
engaging and clever, intermittently bright to the ones who love me.
But that explosive allure, though admittedly captivating,
is also quite fickle to even my most treasured ones.
If we all only knew with forewarning, we were prey to the trap,
we maybe could have tamed the erosive disease free.
Tortured life chaos,
my intimate nemesis.
A warped ‘TLC,’
imposed on the innocents born out of me.
This con-cave institution
is my only cement.
Masked relief from nights past, endures on their faces,
yet spontaneous fun days present our hopeful illusion.
A puzzle my family lives inside with me,
we wake to unpredictable and insoluble days.
Collectively plagued in onerous love,
but I stand alone, the castrated outsider.
These daughters I adore,
cling in love’s unity, the vestige unwavering.
The familiar acronym, T.L.C. forms their guild,
the simple necessity: tender loving care for each other.
Yet juxtaposed, in harrowing position,
an infected ‘TLC’ stays trapped inside me.
I lament my lost life;
it’s a maze with no exit.
Self pity, my lover:
guilt lives only in regrets that are felt.
My starring role cast: the victim forever.
Inescapable twists tighten,
inner torment ferments,
angry pain never stops,
my perceptions distorted.
My life’s struggle is family:
raging love in my heart.
Alas, in the winter of life,
my swan song indulged, emancipation comes gently.
Any lingering fury holds less harm and no menace.
Once deemed hurtful, brash or shaming in public,
my outspoken candor is more easily reined.
I’m slowly accepted as quirky and charming.
Old wounds on us all are hidden scars healing.
The bi-polar grip, now frail and anemic,
ancient agonies among us, are discussed and acknowledged.
New parents are grateful, generations pass on to the next.
As our love is remembered, grandkids play in less volatile space,
and in this court of past suffering, our clemency is granted.
These words are written in reverence to my mother loved, and at times hated.
I was gravely touched by her uttered cries:
her punished experience still remnants in my head.
She was a powerful force, pernicious and amazing,
our grace and shared trauma left me who I am.
Here I offer her voice, forever in me, adage to withered dreams and others not yet set free.
There is a poem in my pocket
And it’s corners are all worn
I’ve read it many times you see
It is tender though it’s torn
The words speak of a pine tree
so clearly I can smell it
and the needles snap so musically
I could sing, not tell it!
Blueberries grow ‘neath it
so round and plump and blue
I can hear my grandmother
calling “Let’s go pick a few!”
Her breath smelled of the Violet Mints
she shared when we would roam
I thought that I could even smell
them through the telephone!
The poem in my pocket
paints a love filled picture so
I keep it with me always
Wherever I may go.
Linda Trott Dickman
Breezing out the door, his confidence exhumed.
A man of his work, precision a must.
His final contract secured,
“Did I tell you I came in dead last?”
He shrugs off the random words behind him.
Slipping on his gloves,
His thoughts lamenting,
“This is it. Make it count!”
Down the assassin’s spine… goosebumps,
Eager anticipation of his kill.
“Did I tell you I came in dead last?”
He shrugs the whisper away. Maybe retiree’s remorse?
His coveted checklist,
Efficiency his trademark,
But for this final one,
Deviation unearths his every nerve ending,
“Before a last breath, I’ll dig deep for the proof.”
“Did I tell you I came in dead last?”
A shrug no longer useful, his head whips around.
The slayer murmurs to his haunting,
“I’ll stray not from my archives!”
“Pain free I adhere,”
“I promise bone after death, not before.”
Did I tell you I came in dead last?
Behind The Masked Door Of Spring
It lurks behind the bursting blossoms of the brilliant pink Azaleas
The vail of Lilacs trailing across the white wood crisscross trellis
A bright ball of glowing fireball Sun that match the vibrant yellow Daffodils
Chirping Robins that hop eagerly across my lawn their orange breasts adorning
The pleasant scent of sprigs of Lavender growing wildly as they frame the green grass
Sparrows, Crows and Bluebirds that fly down from the powder blue sky
As they land gracefully on the roof of their birdhouse and peek beneath the roof
To steal the tiny seeds so perfectly and grasp them in their beak, then darting down
As they grab a squiggly worm below the rich soil and carry it back to their babies
Hidden so tenderly and perfectly in their woven twig filled nests
Beautiful, brilliant, inviting spring, that makes me melt and brings me boundless joy
So inviting, it serves me, and helps to mask the nagging sadness that pulls at me
The sorrowful, wearing, unrelenting sadness that pierces my aching heart