Wouldn’t you like to have a poem in your pocket?
For twelve years, every day, every single day has been a working day. In part because I’m self-employed; if there is work to do, it gets done regardless of the date on the calendar. I’ve taught yoga on Sundays, my birthday, New Year’s Day. On Christmas I’ve sat down to a huge plate of editing. I’ve proofread on vacation, sitting shotgun, flipping the pages as the miles roll away under the wheels of the car. The formula is simple: If I don’t work, I don’t get paid.
Overneath the paying work is my other job, parenting. Mommies don’t get sick days. Even if the peeps are at school and I’m at home or it’s that rare occasion when I’m away from home without them, they’re never far from the front of my mind. It’s a full-time gig, 24/7/365. All of this work? It suits me. I am not complaining (much).
I do marvel; however, that in spite of having a round-the-clock, round-the-calendar life, weekends feel different than weekdays, holidays feel different than regularly scheduled Mondays. There is a momentum of days, even though surely some days are more productive than others.
My favorites are personal holidays. They are not like true personal days, a day off for no reason—something I once had by contract but could never remember to take when I was a college professor. Personal Holidays are a chance to celebrate in some small way an ordinary day. It might be a day made more joyful by a friendly prank, as April first was in our house this year, or it might be a day made just a little more poignant and lovely by the right words, like Poem in Your Pocket day.
Celebrated nationally (whatever that means) since 2008, the concept is simple. Put a favorite poem or a poem that you wrote in your pocket tomorrow, Thursday, April 14. Share it with friends or someone you love. Enjoy the magic that carefully crafted words can bring.
If you don’t have a favorite poem, here’s one of my (many) favorites, by former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser, entitled, appropriately, “Pocket Poem.”
If this comes creased and creased again and soiled
as if I’d opened it a thousand times
to see if what I’d written here was right,
it’s all because I looked too long for you
to put it in your pocket. Midnight says
the little gifts of loneliness come wrapped
by nervous fingers. What I wanted this
to say was that I want to be so close
that when you find it, it is warm from me.