Friday, April 18, 2008

P.I.Y.P. Day: The Results

So, did you put a poem in your pocket yesterday, read it constantly, and share it with others?

No?

Did you at least think about a poem?

No?

Did the word “poetry” ever cross your mind?

No?

That’s okay.

You can give it another shot next year. I’ll remind you, don’t you worry!

Do you want to know how it went with me?

No?

Well, I’m going to tell you anyway!

The poem I chose is by one of my favorite poets of all time, W.B. Yeats.

When You are Old is the first poem I ever memorized for no other reason than love. When I heard it, I knew I had to make it a part of me.

So, I buckled down one night about ten years ago, and read it over and over again until I could say the words with my eyes closed. And it’s been with me ever since.

Anyway, Wednesday night I decided that I would make copies of the poem and pass it out to all my co-workers (since I lacked the courage or desire to stand on a soapbox in the middle of the university and recite it out loud).

Then, yesterday morning, I made my rounds and handed out the poem. I had quite a variety of responses. Most simply seemed surprised, and stammered a “Thank you.” (Boy, that was a great alliteration sentence, wasn’t it?)

But, a few reacted differently:

1. One co-worker looked at me like he thought I expected five bucks in return. (I told him no payment was necessary, words are free.)

2. One said “Oh, I don’t have a poem for you!” (That made me laugh--Like we’re on some sort of poetry barter system.)

3. One sent me an email telling me how much the poem meant to her, and that she loved it.

4. One gave me a big hug.

5. One said I was so thoughtful to think of her and seemed really touched.

6. One pulled me aside and explained to me what she thought the poem meant, and then asked me if she was right. (I told her that, usually, any interpretation could be correct.)

7. One co-worker came in late (so I had just left it on her desk) and I heard her say “Who left me this poem? What a great way to start the day!”

Overall, the first national Poem In Your Pocket day was a great success for me!!

I loved being able to share some beautiful words with people I see every day and to give them an opportunity to pause, read, and think (if only for a minute) about the wonder of words.

So, get ready for next year! It’s a great way to liven up an ordinary work day, I promise!!

3 comments:

Rachel said...

I actually did carry a poem in my pocket all day. It was great fun. I carried Emily Dickinson's "There is no Frigate like a book." (I think that's how it started. You know my memory.) I didn't hand it out because the only people I saw all day were strangers and I thought it would be a little weird. Maybe next year I'll be braver.

ryan morgan said...

ah poetry... i've written a few for school and i really liked it. like fine art, poetry is always open to different interpretations which makes it so everyone can enjoy it in their own way. reviewing something in your pocket all day is a great way to memorize things too. thats how i learned my strange language while on my mission. nice job!

Mr. Hall said...

That is awesome! I had no idea about a day set aside for carrying a poem in one's pocket, but that is a great idea. If it counts for anything, I am teaching my students poetry at the moment and shared with them Pablo Neruda's "Tonight I Can Write the Saddest Lines." Thanks for sharing. I love Yaets as well.