A Poem For Your Pocket

It’s Poem in Your Pocket Day! Celebrate by choosing and sharing a poem you love with others. My choice: the first poem I was ever required to memorize and which I’ve never forgotten, a selection from Sonnets From the Portuguese, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

“Sonnet 43: How Do I Love Thee?”

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love the to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to loseΒ 
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, and tears of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
— Elizabeth Barret Browning
Β 

Poetry can be a reminder of the beauty and range of emotion words can convey. It can remind us of a special person, place, or time in our lives. It can open our eyes to a new way of seeing or being in the world. It can set a musical rhythm to the simplest human experience and elevate it to greatness. Once learned by heart, a poem can rarely be unlearned and will be forever “in your pocket,” a valuable treasure that cannot be stolen.

The Academy of American Poets has other suggestions for celebrating Poem in Your Pocket Day, listed below. Β And if you’re late getting the memo, don’t worry. Every day is a good day to share a poem.

* Hand out poems in your school or workplace.
* Teachers: reward students “caught” with a poem in their pocket.
* Local business owners: offer discounts to those carrying poems.
* Start a street team to pass out poems in your community.
* Add a poem to your email footer.
* Mail a poem to a friend.
* Post a poem on your blog or social networking page. Use #pocketpoem on Twitter.

Which poem will you choose?

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This entry was posted in "how Do I LoveThee?", Authors, Beauty, Books/Reading, Creativity, Elizabeth Barret Browning, Love, Poetry, Values/Morality, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to A Poem For Your Pocket

  1. Christina says:

    Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower; We will grieve not, rather find Strength in what remains behind……,
    – William Wordsworth

  2. I have never read this poem in its entirety! I’m so grateful you shared it! (Shamefully, I might have even thought it was a Shakespeare sonnet! :/)

    • Angela says:

      I’m so glad you liked the poem, Audra! πŸ™‚ It’s funny how many lines of literature make it into our common lexicon, but we often don’t seek out the source. I just finished reading Hamlet again and counted some 20+ phrases that we use all the time and I had no idea most of them derived from the play.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Have a great week!

  3. Hi Angela, I love this poem by Emily Dickinson:

    Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
    Were I with thee
    Wild Nights should be
    Our luxury!

    Futile – the Winds –
    To a Heart in port –
    Done with the Compass –
    Done with the Chart!

    Rowing in Eden –
    Ah, the Sea!
    Might I but moor – Tonight –
    In Thee!

    I have an affinity with her lifestyle too and think she is an inspirational poet!

    Hope you are doing well Angela πŸ™‚

    • Angela says:

      Ruth, I’m so glad you stopped by to share this Dickinson! It’s one of my favorites, as well. I love the nautical imagery she uses in this poem — she has such a sense of it. I had the privilege of teaching Dickinson to my high school students this year — the majority of them had never done any poetry reading/study and none knew Dickinson. It was interesting to watch and listen to them as they navigated her work and probed the depths of her metaphors. In general, I think they grew to appreciate her, and a few genuinely grew to like her. I’ve had my eye on this book of her letters for awhile, but have yet to read them. Perhaps you will beat me to it and share with me! πŸ™‚ I hope you are doing alright — you’ll be hearing from me soon. Take care.

      • Hi Angela, those letters look good :-). I would love to be tempted but have so much to read just now. I have it in my basket now, though, so who knows… Thanks so much for the the link – always love to receive your recommendations! πŸ™‚

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