Thursday, April 29, 2010

Poem In Your Pocket Day is today!

I'm such an amateur poet - I just found out today is Poem In Your Pocket Day. Alice Quinn is the director of of the New York-based Poetry Society of America, and she's responsible for bringing the Envelope Project to the city. Her idea comes from her fifth-grade teacher who one day gave all of his students a sealed envelope with the first line of a famous poem on the front, and the full poem inside. The students were asked to write their own poem using the same starting line before they could open the envelope.

So the idea for today is to carry in your pocket a poem you wrote based on a famous first line and share it with friends and family. Today, Mayor Mike Bloomberg read his poem which is inspired by "Hope is the Thing with Feathers" by Emily Dickinson. I think it's rather good, so I'm going to share it below:

"Hope" is the thing with feathers
That makes our City soar
It will take us to the future
As it's carried us before.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That travels all our streets
It sings in every language
It sometimes even tweets.

And though we may not see it

It perches everywhere
In new shops and small businesses
In every schoolroom chair.

It could be our famous pigeon

Or fabled red-tailed hawk
Hope is the thing with feathers
That flies throughout New Yawk.

I love how he ends it with "New Yawk!" Our mayor is very fond of NYC, and probably does not take public transportation to work. If he did, he might have written some haiku about the frustrations of subways and navigating the sidewalks of the city (see my book).

So, let's explore that, shall we? Trying to get anywhere in NYC is maddening, especially during rush hour. The city is just full of so many people, bikes, vehicles, and pets. It's bumper to bumper stop-and-go traffic, it's being crammed onto an already full bus, it's trying to get your MetroCard to work at the turnstile as the subway doors are closing. ARG!!!! It's enough to make a pirate drink rum! and lots of it!

I'm going to try my hand with one of my favorite poets, Edgar Allen Poe, and use his poem "The Raven."

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
why so many pedestrians wander aimlessly when, clearly
there are people in a hurry, walking by in a flurry
trying to catch the train, and just barely
making it through the closing door.
Why must they be so selfish, unthinking of others?
They should all "Be gone!", if I had my druthers.
But alas, I must commute to work because my smashed up car is
No more.

And of course, we must have a Provocative Haiku on the subject!

Rush hour train ride home
with gabby, drunken riders.
I could slap each one.

Hey, why don't you give it a try! Here's a great place for famous poems: and click here for "The Raven."

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