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Poetry Month

Poem in Your Pocket Day 2008

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Write a poem right away –
Thursday’s Poem In Your Pocket Day!

Read below for a fine first line,
And rewrite a classic for modern times.

It’s an easy project all you writing friends,
So let us begin in order to reach the end…

Thursday, April 17, 2008 will be the sixth annual Poem In Your Pocket day in New York City, and this year, the Mayor's Office is working with the Poetry Society of America to bring the John Waldman Writing Project to New York City. We've offered up the NYPL blog as a space for everyone to participate, so if you want to write your own poem, simply follow these instructions:

  1. Browse through these first lines of – public domain (trust us, we’ve checked) – already published poems.
  2. When you have found one that you connect with, continue writing it as though it were your own first line.
  3. Once you have finished your poem, post it in the comments below.
  4. Be sure to check back on April 17 to see what other New Yorkers have written – as well as the original poems.
  5. And don’t forget to print out a copy of your poem, fold it up, and tuck it in to your pockets, so you can be ready for April 17th

First lines below the fold...

  • The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea...
  • I know what the caged bird feels, alas!...
  • My heart leaps up when I behold...
  • When you are old and gray and full of sleep...
  • I wandered lonely as a cloud...
  • How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...
  • I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me...
  • Go and catch a falling star...
  • There was a child went forth every day...
  • FLOOD-TIDE below me! I watch you face to face!...
  • If ever two were one, then surely we...
  • When I have fears that I may cease to be...
  • Drink to me, only with thine eyes...
  • Love bade me welcome, yet my soul drew back...
  • 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves...
  • There was an Old Man with a beard...
  • My heart is like a singing bird...

Poem In Your Pocket Day is a collaborative poetry and literacy initiative from the Mayor’s Office, the Department of Education and the Department of Cultural Affairs. Throughout the day on April 17th, schools, libraries, senior centers and cultural organizations throughout the five boroughs will be celebrating the power of poetry. All you need to do to participate is carry your favorite original or classic poem in your pocket all day and share it with your family, friends, co-workers or classmates. For more information, please visit www.nyc.gov/poem.

Comments

Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

Matching lines with authors

I'm not yet brave enough to compose in public, but I'll take this as a reference challenge to list the poets who correspond to the lines off the top of my head: The Owl and the Pussy-Cat went to sea.. <a href="http://worldcat.org/search?q=au%3AEdward+Lear&qt=hot_author">Edward Lear</a> I know what the caged bird feels, alas!... <a href="http://worldcat.org/search?q=au%3APaul+Dunbar&qt=hot_author">Paul Dunbar</a>, inspiring Maya Angelou I wandered lonely as a cloud... <a href="http://worldcat.org/search?q=au%3AEdward+Lear&qt=hot_author">Wordsworth</a> How do I love thee? Let me count the ways... <a href="http://worldcat.org/search?q=au%3AShakespeare&qt=hot_author">Shakespeare</a> Drink to me, only with thine eyes... <a href="http://worldcat.org/search?q=au%3ABen+Jonson&qt=hot_author">Ben Jonson</a> `Twas brillig, and the slithy toves... <a href="http://worldcat.org/search?q=au%3ALewis+Carroll&qt=hot_author">Lewis Carroll</a>

Oops!

How do I love thee--um, Elizabeth Barrett Browning!

Thanks for the correction, and one more

My heart leaps up when I behold... <a href="http://worldcat.org/search?q=au%3AWordsworth&qt=hot_author">Wordsworth</a>

New York City

My heart leaps up when I behold- the sky so filled with buildings old Such colors at night - they fill the sky give me reason and hope to try to reach the level of success the most amazing city, YES!

I know what the caged bird

I know what the caged bird feels, alas! Metal and glass, and a sky through bars.. City dwellers, behold! It’s a fool leading fool blindfold. -JD

My take on the Mayor's poem

Pardon me sir, I have a question or two – What, pray tell, is this City to do? It’s never been easy for us to get by And prices for everything now are sky high With two years to go, you can still pull us through!

After the First Line of the Mayor's Poem

Pardon me, sir, I've a question or two... about the best way to fix my heart which is filled with ghosts in a city which is filled with the voices of the living and the going. I have lived here just long enough to develop a sense of bird song. Each bird is a ghost you cannot hold. What you cannot touch you cannot fix. Stranger, together, listening, we fix almost nothing, but we are together. Jennifer Lauer

After the first line

...you rise to the challenge. Very nice, Jennifer! Yours is a poem I shall try to remember.

Pardon me, sir, I've a question or two …

Pardon me, sir, I've a question or two … Ah, the burden you face; wouldn't like to be you. Everyone shouting to his or her taste, None of whom helping, just making waste. But you sir, you care, I know that you do, I see it in all of your plans through and through. Mostly, I see it in that no one owns you, 'tis not the case with the rest of the crew. I hoped that your plan to reduce all congestion will pass, despite egos, party lines, and recessions Ah, your long term plan, to save our great city, Please stay mayor forever, without you, such a pity.

Poem for Mayor Bloomberg

Poem for Mayor Bloomberg Beginning with a Line of His "Pardon me, Sir. I've a question or two." That's what they all say. What they really mean is: will you listen to my rant of the day which blames our problems as a nation on the lack of a unifying vision giving rise to such frustration that people will embrace any illusion that knocks on the door, and more along these lines until you, Mr. Mayor, say: is there a question here? I say: Take the day off. Sing a song like "(We'll Have) Manhattan." You, sir, can count on the poetry vote. Cheers!

There was an Old Man with a

There was an Old Man with a beard, down the road His name was Old Man Shilsky, he hated colored people and loved his kind He had two daughters, and a son His wife was nearly blind in one eye and her body was ill The son died in war and both daughters left the old man The old man got divorced and left the ill woman That Old Man Shilsky that lives down the road, is know gone With nothing but himself

Life

When I have fears that I may cease to be... I look at the faces that have come past me They are young, they are old But they all had stories that they told. When I have fears that I may cease to be.. I look up in wonder at the magnificence and power of thee. I see your omnipotent hand in every bud, every flower, every tree And I am assured that your grace is with me. When I have fears that I may cease to be.. I remember that bud, that flower, that tree.. Yes, they cease, but only for a bit Because the cycles of life require time to commit When I have fears that I may cease to be... I recall the generations that have gone before me. I accept that they have left footprints for me to follow And hope that the steps I leave will prove useful tomorrow.

wandering

I wandered lonely as a cloud silent as an ether gaud looking into vagrant faces, turning corners, turning graces away figuring on the places you once stayed, standing, gazing at lakes imaging yourself chopped and turned in the wake or the lattice of that tall and solemn stone in Evanston, and wondered while wandering why you hadn't shared or bared the gloss of it before turning towards the ether yourself My eyes bear my witness and your end is still carrying carrying the soles of my feet towards my own more vocal ending

Was a child

There was a child went forth every day So no one thought to look at her So special that she floated Obliquely under the gun-rack There was a child of a child went forth Every day with artificially orange orange juice 24 hour talk-radio 10 minute red-lights And 6-packs of Pepsi One There was a child of a child of a child Went forth from this crooked drifting girl As she watched the Kwiky-Mart drive thru Reign over the obesity equipped child sheet In a 3rd rate pickup With the 2nd hand smoke Of her 1st class family There was a child

I hid from him when he came in but cried when he came out

i saw him through my eyes and tears were sweeping by he walked through the door while i hid, from the one that i adore we looked at each other but i glanced away the more i thought about him, the more my thoughts astray in my head, i wanted him to go but in my heart, i wanted him to stay i blocked my face and wouldnt let him see the girl that he was looking for, the girl that he was looking at is me when it was time for him to go i started crying, i didnt know what is it that my heart is trying to say? i hope i'll find out one day hopefully, not too late.......

I think you missed the idea

No comment on your poem, but the idea here is to play a poetry game -- # Browse through these first lines of – public domain (trust us, we’ve checked) – already published poems. # When you have found one that you connect with, continue writing it as though it were your own first line.

HOPE

im lost in my world im lost in my thoughts i keep on wondering if he loves me or not i know hes said "no," a million times and seconds ago but each time i look into his eyes and saw that his was on mines it gives me hope and a greatful smile but he takes it away by looking and going the other way each time i try to talk to him theres always something else he gotta do i know hes trying to push me away but i love him more each day i hope he would change his mind and turn this way i just hope it wont be too late its too tiring just waiting for my fate either he changes his mind now while i would agree to say "i love you" or never again, will my love be true!

My heart is like a singing bird - poems from PS132 Williamsburg

I did the PSA's first line poetry project with two classes of fourth graders - here are some of their fabulous poems: My heart is like a singing bird It is always singing A person comes and admires me Because my heart is a beautiful thing It is like a singing bird. My heart is like a singing bird It is very shy But when it feels like someone is nice It starts to sing a tune It is like a singing bird My heart is like a singing bird It is delicate and fragile It has no idea what to do So it stops singing and flies away Because my heart is like a bird It has qualities of a bird. Melissa Petrie, 4th grade, PS 132 My heart is like a singing bird It is chirping in my body As long as I don't let it go It would be warm in my body It's ok if there's a bird in me As long as you don't break my heart You won't break the bird in me. Mary Cardenas, 4th grade, PS 132

I know what the caged bird feels poems from PS 132 Williamsburg

I know what the caged bird feels Oh! And when the cage opens, flies at me, I say Woa! The bird was putting on a show, and I said Oh! And because of that a joke, my face did a Glow! And it all started when I said Oh! Sierra Rivera, 4th grade I know what the caged bird feels, alas! I know what the caged bird feels it feels sad I know what the caged bird feels alas it feels lonely I know what the caged bird feels alas it feels made I know what the caged bird feels alas it feels caged up But I know it it not all caged up It feels free now. Stephanie Ruiz, 4th grade

When you are old and gray - poems from PS132Williamsburg

When you are old and gray and full of sleep you wake up one morning and feel full of life You see the people you love and put them to sleep And you say to yourself wow I helped a lot of people today I feel full of light. You hear the ocean in your soul and see the birds with worms you put a smile on your face and go gray and sound fast asleep. Christian Echavarria, 4th grade <br><br> When you are old and gray and full of sleep You have a little bit of hair on you You are really tired and stressed out When you are old and gray and full of sleep You are sometimes wise and sometimes colorful When you are old and gray and full of sleep You can sometimes be sad and joyful You can be thinking that you are silly You can also be willy nilly! Jonathan Rivera, 4th grade

Go and catch a falling

Go and catch a falling star, For it has come from afar, Made by God's very own hand, To our beauteous home land. Go and catch a falling star, For it has come from afar Twinkling bright in the dark night, Shimmering with silvery light. Go and catch a falling star For it has come from afar Hold it close to your heart It was God-made from the start. Go and catch a falling star For it has come from afar And will find you wherever you are!

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