Today is National Poem in Your Pocket Day. Poetry has a bad rap. A lot of it is pretentious. More is sophomoric. I should know. I wrote reams of bad poetry as a self-indulgent teenager.
I grew up on poetry. My mom had a book from which she read to us all the time. My sister took the book and read it to my nephew when he was young. Then I got the book to read to my own children. It’s copyrighted 1926, so it was an old book even when I was a child. I believe it was a 6th grade school book. And while I have lots of poetry books on my shelves–Poe, Dickinson, Sexton, Thomas, Rumi, and so on, this is the book I gravitate to when I’m in the mood for poetry.
If I had to chose only one poem to carry in my pocket, it would be one from this book. It’s a Joyce Kilmer poem. Kilmer is probably best known for the his poem,
“I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree,”
but that’s not the one I have in mind.
I much prefer “The House with Nobody in It.”