Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day!
April is National Poetry Month , The Academy for American Poets had a glorious 30 ways to celebrate. Since Poem in Your Pocket Day 2017 is April 27th this year, I’m sharing my favorite poem with you.
Poem in Your Pocket Day originated in 2002 by the Office of the Mayor, in New York City. In 2008, the Academy of American Poets expanded this initiative to all fifty United States. The League of Canadian Poets extended Poem in Your Pocket Day to Canada in 2016. And, the Academy of American Poets also want you to share your favorite poem. Go to their website and find a downloadable poem to carry with you if you don’t have one in mind. You can choose from thirty-one different poems from within a sixty-five page pdf document. These are all wonderful, and of these, my favorite is “When Giving is All We Have” by Alberto Rios.
“Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day! Celebrate by selecting a poem, carrying it with you, and sharing it with others throughout the day at schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, and workplaces. Then, join the conversation on social media by posting a link or screenshot and on Twitter using the hashtag #pocketpoem. This year, we’re also encouraging individuals to also add the hashtag #SavetheNEA and/or #ThankYouNEA, as the poems on Poets.org and the Poem in Your Pocket Day resources we share are made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)”.
Max Ehrmann’s “Desiderata” hangs on the wall near my writing desk.
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.