- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Here we are in the thick of April. We don't know if we should break out the warm weather clothes or cover up the flowers in front of the house. That's April. Unpredictable. Snow? Heat? Wind? It could all happen within the same week.
April is full of notable days. April Fool's Day to start. No one has told me my shoe is untied since junior high. Well, maybe high school. And it gets better. April 2 is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. April 7, No Housework Day. Just one day for this? It ought to be at least a month-long observance!
April is International Guitar Month. A nod to all the loud, screaming want-to-be-a-rock-star kids in garages across the world. April 24 is National Pigs in a Blanket Day. April 22, National Jelly Bean Day. Give a nod to there-you-go-again-jelly-bean-eating the late President Ronald Reagan.
April is National Poetry Month. Tomorrow, April 17, is National Poem in Your Pocket Day. The idea is to carry a copy of a favorite poem in your pocket and pull it out at every opportune moment, read it to the people around you, and do your part to impart poetry to your fellow man. Well, poetry is a great medium for expressing thought and emotion in a beautiful way. But even I do not carry a poem in my pocket. Reading a poem to the people around you would go over like taking bologna to a church supper.
Although most women do not even have pockets on most days, those who do probably do not have a poem in their pockets. What I might have in my pocket is lipstick, a phone or money. In that order of importance. Consider our values. People want to look good, talk to someone and buy more stuff. I'm not thinking about bettering someone's cultural leanings, probably against their will. How condescending. To read a poem in public, one needs to go where other poets are gathered together to hear and read poems together. It's called a poetry reading. Usually in a dilapidated bar or old theatre, accompanied by cello music or intermittent jazz solos. Kind of like a crack house, except Whitman is the drug of choice.
What DO people keep in their pockets? Some of you carry a pocketknife. I had a pocketknife in my purse, but I had to throw it away in an airport. What if, while going through airport security, you were caught with a poem in your pocket? What if poems were that powerful? A poem in the wrong hands could bring down an airplane? Ludicrous? Not from every angle. A poem is a powerful thing. A poem can save a romance. It can honor our loved ones. A poem can change history.
Poems are read at inaugurations of presidents. No one threw tomatoes or jeered at Robert Frost when he quoted "The Gift Outright" at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy. "Something we were withholding made us weak/Until we found out that it was ourselves/We were withholding from our land of living,/And forthwith found salvation in surrender."
Maybe real men and women do quote poetry. And are even brave enough to carry poems in their pockets.
So, here's to National Poetry Month. Get caught reading poetry on your lunch break. Read poetry to your kids and grandkids. Send poems to your friends. Even carry a poem in your pocket.