Thursday, April 26, 2012

Celebrate "National Poem in Your Pocket Day"

Fernando Pessoa
Art Credit: Gary Lachman

Today is National Poem in Your Pocket Day and I think it deserves a shout out to all. Originating in New York City in 2002 and becoming a national event in 2009, it provides an opportunity to celebrate poetry of all types. 
If one looks at the banner of my blog, the subject of useful poetry is included. Poetry serves. It gives a voice to emotions, history, and the nature of people and the universe. A poem can tell stories and anecdotes that are often timeless in message. I’ve shared some poetry over the past year on this blog, showing how poems I deem useful for me have been woven into the strength of my personal fiber. 
The poem in my pocket today is by Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935). Like many great artists, his literary genius went largely unrecognized until after his death. The Los Angeles Times once called him “the greatest twentieth century writer you have never heard of.”
A wonderful friend once told me that my purpose in life was “Spreading the Gospel of Good Music and Poetry.” In that spirit, here is an untitled poem by Fernando Pessoa, my “newest favorite poet” introduced to me this spring by a Portuguese friend who shares my passion of poetry.
Don’t try to build in the space you suppose
Is future, Lydia, and don’t promise yourself
Tomorrow. Quit hoping and be who you are
Today. You alone are your life.
Don’t plot your destiny, for you are not future.
Between the cup you empty and the same cup
Refilled, who knows whether your fortune
Won’t interpose the abyss?
From “A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe: Selected Poems,” by Fernando Pessoa
What poem will you put in your pocket today? Please let me know!

1 comment:

  1. An afterthought: I can't help but wonder if the fact that this tradition was started in New York City in 2002 was a reaction in some way to the terrorists attack on September 11, 2001. In addition to poetry serving, it also heals.