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Poem in Your Pocket Day 2009

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Ginsberg, Hughes, Byron, and Poe They wrote poems that we all know On April 30th, Poem in Your Pocket Day Add your own words to what they say Thursday, April 30th, 2009 will be the seventh 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 poet John Waldman’s Envelope 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 famous poems.
  2. When you have found one that inspires you, continue writing your own poem based on the first line.
  3. Once you have finished your poem, post it in the comments section below. Link the NYPL blog to your Facebook page, and share with your friends!
  4. Be sure to check back on April 30th 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 and tuck it in to your pockets, so you can be ready for April 30th.

Suggested 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 30th, 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 or become a fan of the new PIYP Facebook page.

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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.

The Owl and the Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea With a book of poems they took their tea The day was grand! But they sailed back to land For milk, for sugar, for thee.

A Haiku: Streetlights,

A Haiku: Streetlights, People Horror, Shock, Confusion Tights Are Not Pants

a haiku in answer to

a haiku in answer to yours when winter winds down oh new york and brooklyn streets where bare feet appear ladies why the risk are you wearing underwear? of this i wonder

My heart leaps up when I

My heart leaps up when I behold A beautiful bag, black leather and gold I turn my head to shed my yearning My stomach aflutter, impatiently churning One day my pocket will afford me A bag of distinction for utility My heart once agile calms its beating A moment of bliss – despondently fleeting Waiting for the moment, for the bag that I will carry I am patient and assured as I longingly tarry

When you are old and grey

When you are old and grey and full of sleep Come my children and sit a spell While a tale I tell Lend me your hearts and minds and ears And listen to my tale of years Life when you're young is a song that is sung; Life when you're old is a tale that is told. The journey has wound through many a ground Through byways and highways, long and steep Over hills how sublime down valleys how deep Come my children and do not weep For I have yet promises to keep.

I Hear an Army by James

I Hear an Army by James Joyce I hear an army charging upon the land, And the thunder of horses plunging, foam about their knees: Arrogant, in black armour, behind them stand, Disdaining the reins, with fluttering whips, the charioteers. They cry unto the night their battle-name: I moan in sleep when I hear afar their whirling laughter. They cleave the gloom of dreams, a blinding flame, Clanging, clanging upon the heart as upon an anvil. They come shaking in triumph their long, green hair: They come out of the sea and run shouting by the shore. My heart, have you no wisdom thus to despair? My love, my love, my love, why have you left me alone?

I wondered lonely as a

I wondered lonely as a cloud Walking about so proud. The sun kissed my face And the world was filled with grace For love, love was abound.

There was a child went forth

<strong>There was a child went forth every day</strong> There was a child went forth every day Seeking safety and acceptance by peers. The Guards of Order kept him at bay, Little regard for his thoughts and his fears, His voice unheard. There was a child with little at home. He looked to the street to fight back, to survive. Surrounded by friends yet completely alone He drank, toked, and flew to feel more alive, His needs unmet. There was a child thrown out of school For hugging, for touching, and smart-assed replies. Their judgement confirming that he was a fool, Their scorn taught him quickly to hate and despise. His pain unseen. There was a child went forth late one night Accosted a man in fancy attire. Police arrived and the child took flight. He ran without stopping, drawing their fire. His life unsung.

Listen my children and you

Listen my children and you shall hear Of the adventure of Bill, my dear Who sailed through Hell's Gate in a boat without a motor. It was 1970, a very good year For our first son did appear. 'Twas a wooden folk boat like no other With a crew of Bill and Bob, his brother. The seas they were fierce The wind it did pierce. They did not get blown off course Altair rode the waves like a horse! They came to harbor safe and sound And were happy to be once again on ground. Theirs was a grand adventure and would portend Of many a voyage just 'round the bend. For from New York to Norfolk they did sail down the coast . The wives did celebrate and raise a toast Upon their return, safe and sound, Onto land and firm ground.

Go and catch a falling

Go and catch a falling star, and no matter where you are, write your name upon the breeze, and you may do as you may please! Go and catch a falling star, like a firefly in a jar, dancing fairies and the elves, the leprachauns and ourselves! Go and catch a falling star, wandering both near and far, try to find the rainbow's end, imagination your best friend!

IF EVER TWO WERE ONE If ever

IF EVER TWO WERE ONE If ever two were one, then we would surely be together In time, in space, in Heaven, in the folds of our hearts! My heart is filled with the love of my life even though he is gone I can still feel him. I can still hear the angels speaking his name He is in Heaven. I am still on this earth. Cancer ravaged him. We are still one. My heart is still bursting with the folds of love! When it's my time to pass through on the other side I will see him again. We will be one again, no more suffering The two of us together on that peaceful, serene, beautiful shore We wll be one forever more, for eternity, for the ages! I sometimes say hurry time, let me sit again with my love Let me be with the one that gave me life abundantly! Whatever time I have left, I share his legacy on this earth I look to the Heavens, wondering when we will be one again I can bide my time until I see him. I can await that peaceful shore We are still one, we are still together in spirit no matter where we are! If ever two were one we would be surely be together We will be someday and we will sing again in unison! Praise God!

When you are old and

When you are old and gray, And full of sleep, Though it sounds so cliché, You will still reap, What you have sown in play, And fast asleep. So love one another, With heartfelt love, The love of a mother, Or kindness of, A man for his brother, A sweet white dove, The love of the other, Unworthy of.

There was an old man with a

There was an old man with a beard While cooking chicken it got seared He cooled the hair with his beer While his friends gathered near Oh, what a site they saw Surrounding the old mans jaw They helped him conceal is face And got dinner back on pace The group settled down to eat With chicken and bread of wheat Their dessert was yummy grilled pears When finished they lay back in their chairs. They shared stories of old And the future they foretold The evening came to a pleasant end The old man looked forward to next weekend

When you are old and

When you are old and gray, and full of sleep. When the days grow long, and the night is deep. When it seems hope is fading, and you long to weep. When aches and pains, in your bones now creep. When the road grows long, and seems to bend. When from aging, you can not mend Just remember these words, my fine young friend. Life is only beginning, its not the end.

How do I love thee? Let me

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways I love you 1 because Of your desire to learn. I love you 2 because You continue to try it until you get it. I love you 3 because Of the vitality you bring to our class. I love you 4 because You continue to bloom and grow. I love you 5 because You are always willing to help a classmate. I love you completely just because you are you!

If ever two were one, then

If ever two were one, then surely we would be unvailed. As true as our love shines brighter then the moon. When I look into your eyes I see beyond your past and get lost in the endless sky in your eyes. So do not judge me for I can't bare the shame that I would feel. So say good night and wait for me. As sure as a shamrock is green and two become one our love shall be redeamed Through the father, the spirit the son.

I have a little shadow that

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me...... The cloak reaches out to you in the form of a shadow Wondering in ways for a dream to come true. But only asking yourself, could it ever be? Sources of warmth are taken from the inner core Having the crown to the sight of the day To reach the status creature of satisfaction Only to find your beating red-round shot For a reason of not understanding Living it once,- is living it too much There are to many shadows living under one cloak

Go and catch a falling

Go and catch a falling star Drive a car No matter how far Go and catch a falling star Run and run afar Catch it in a mason jar Go and catch a falling star Sparkling ans so bizarre Sit back and smoke a cigar

I know what the caged bird

I know what the caged bird feels, alas! I am free. Graduation at last! No more will the bars of school keep me caged, alas! Freedom from the shadows of the bars that seemed to always be in my line of sight. No matter if I looked left or right. The bars are gone and so is school. Alas the cage is gone! No more will I be feed my knowledge in the plastic bowl that hung in the cage. I am free to pick my fare from the offerings of the world beyond the cage, alas! I know what the free bird feels.

The perfect shell Frothy

The perfect shell Frothy white wave-fangs bite at the air, their gleaming anger shocking the darkness. Wind waging war on water, ripping it bare, maniacally muscling stacks of cascading chaos. Unrelenting, the storm persisting, wickedly wrapped in night's blackest cloak, the sun choked, In a tumultuous mad sand tumble, tearing shore's grasp, An incensed sea spews salty hiss, cursing wind’s hold. Deeper, in the violent silent fury of the sea belly, Broken shell bits are hurled from their watery world. Sea strikes the shore, Hell’s hammer heaving heavily, A shattered battered shell-path torturously unfurled. Blight of broken pieces, delighting Hades’ gloom, Stretches away, a meandering memorial to stories untold. There in the destruction, defying Hell’s doom, One perfect shell glowing, showing a heavenly gold. Light in the dark, perfection in imperfection, shines, Giving new hope and promise to a storm ravaged place. The perfect shell, brushed by angels, by God’s fire, Testifies that when the sun rises, all will blaze. The blowing sands and storms of time will refine, The cracked splintered bits becoming something more. Through storms, trusting, withstanding for a time, Made whole and holy, dazzling treasures on the shore.

When you are old and gray

When you are old and gray and full of sleep. I will keep you by my side, as I weep. Darkness fills your eyes, but you stay strong Up in the clouds you will go, it won't be long. Close your restless eyes and relax now as, I hold you close and kiss your cheek, I say you have nothing to fear. my tears flow like water. Soon, it will end, as you give your last breathe. I will love you forever, my beautiful freind.

It always comes, and when it

It always comes, and when it comes they know. Those sharp ears hear the footsteps in the hall. Running over to the sound, they crouch below. Even fast, she's moving much too slow. At the counter, flustered, cans will fall. It always comes, and when it comes they know. Impatient as they're pacing to and fro, the dishes tip and clang against the wall. Running over to the sound, they crouch below. It seems the last time happened long ago. The food is lowered down to sound the call. It always comes, and when it comes they know. Running over to the sound, they crouch below. First line taken from Donald Justice's 1925 poem Women in Love. This poem was inspired by two hungry cats!

Drink to me, with only thine

Drink to me, with only thine eyes look deeply into them be guided by thy heart and you will find those hidden treasures the real riches disguised capture thy inner beauty and break free from thy shackles and run away with me run to this paradise where no intruders will be present and where the present will stay present because death does not await us. Here poverty does not exsist so, break bread with me and hunger no more.

Go and catch a falling

Go and catch a falling star You never know, it might get you far When you look up at the night sky You sit quietly as the world passes you by You think about your dreams And all that the world seams That maybe one day you will be where you want to be Seeing what you really want to see I also wrote another: Along walked a girl covered in lace She walked with certain haste As she headed home to wash the city from her face She had forgotten her mace So she picked up her pace And she disappeared into the night with out a trace

When you are old and gray

When you are old and gray and full of sleep The ones you love will surely have to weep. We will always remember that old, rugged, jeep And the mountains you would climb were oh so steep! You were never afraid of taking the leap And that in our memories we will always keep. Now go back to sleep, And our love for you we will hold deep.

How do I love thee? Let me

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways I love you simply for who you are, your smile and laugh lighten and brighten my day, I love you for the way you smile when you play I love you even more for your sweet baby ways being your mom is what I love the most, it's the number one reason I'm alive today I love your little girl nose I love your precious little toes, but most of all I love you because you are the best person I know

Go and catch a falling

Go and catch a falling star... Go and catch a falling star, for you never know how near they are. Have you ever stared at a sky so blue, wondering where life may take you? Have you ever leaped, yet feared the fall? Have you ever dreamed you may heed the call? So stare if you please, and leap if you want but dreaming is a must you can and you will. Dream big and reach high, as life is too short, and some day you will die.

I have a little shadow that

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me, I have often wondered if he truly wishes to be free. What might he do with his time, If his decisions were not intimately tied to mine? Would he spend long days climbing high peaks, Or instead spend his days at home between the sheets? Does he dream of boarding in deep snow, Or is he deeply bored and think my hobbies blow? I wonder what my shadow would say If presented with the choice to leave or to stay? We have had many an adventure whether or not by his druthers And if given my choice, I would not care to spend my days with any other.

Go and catch a falling star

Go and catch a falling star and Put it in your pocket. Only take it out When you are about In life's hasty astray. To guide you Through that dark dark day.

Love bade me welcome, yet my

Love bade me welcome, yet my soul drew back, Something within myself that I now lack, Bittersweet memories of a heartbroken past, Haunt me still of first love that did not last, A once romantic heart beats sundered still, Dare I fall again despite all the pain? Longing for your love despite my will, Praying for the strength to love once again, Your beauty inspires me like dawn’s first light, Hoping beyond hope that our love will remain true, Despite all reservations, our love takes flight, My spirit reborn because of my love for you.

I wandered lonely as a

I wandered lonely as a cloud Floating by so very loud My foe the sun Had me on the run For he shined his face so bright and proud

Go and catch a falling

Go and catch a falling star but make sure it is not too far far from your arms and far from reach or else sky will have to teach teach you when and how to be a patient child and not of greed for if it is not your star it is not your star.

My heart leaps up when I

My heart leaps up when I behold Your treasured beauty like a find of gold Two hearts together through days of old To you my only to you I’m sold So together we’ll be as one Just like when we’ve first begun Through every evening til the day is done And every night til the morning sun

My heart is like a singing

My heart is like a singing bird, it's song falls on the waking ear, and makes my heart fly up and out, into the cold spring air. The ground, still frozen, crucnhes, but the morning song is sweet. It is this morning I waited for, through the dreary, heartless winter that took too much, and hurt too long. Birds and sky are all I need to let the dead be dead, and let my spirit wake and feel.

Saturday morning in the East

Saturday morning in the East Village Heels click beneath a contorted sight In a little black dress; uneasy visage Tumbling out of the night.

When you are old and Grey

When you are old and Grey and full of sleep, I will sit with you each day and wait To keep you company You are not alone The life you lived was full Full of people who love you You are not alone So go to sleep and know When you awake, here I will sit and wait.

There was an old man with a

There was an old man with a beard browsing books with eyes that said boredom but a mouth that twinkled full of ideas and saliva. I watched him through stack slits to see if he’d pick books or his nose. His fingers never moved towards his face, so I eyed his battered briefcase. Don’t think people won’t steal what you’d give them for free. People will put their grubby hands all over your Dewey numbers, if you let them. But, upon closer inspection, he was eyeing up 346.078, so he wasn’t a pervert, but a victim. It means Social Science; it means Law; it means Bankruptcy. The poor man was walking with purpose, like it mattered. But it doesn’t always. Take your time, old man. Shrug your shoulders back and lose the posture. We know you’re tired; you want a nap; you want a snack and a comb for your beard. So, nestle in with the lions-- they’re more welcoming than gruff. Use their teeth to sharpen your knowledge and then flash it ferociously when this city seems too tough.

I don't Mac I just sit back

I don't Mac I just sit back and relax 'Cause my face aint whack Like the pimples on your back

There was an old man with a

There was an old man with a beard browsing books with eyes that said boredom but a mouth that twinkled full of ideas and saliva. I watched him through stack slits to see if he’d pick books or his nose. His fingers never moved towards his face, so I eyed his battered briefcase. Don’t think people won’t steal what you’d give them for free. People will put their grubby hands all over your Dewey numbers, if you let them. But, upon closer inspection, he was eyeing up 346.078, so he wasn’t a pervert, but a victim. It means Social Science; it means Law; it means Bankruptcy. The poor man was walking with purpose, like it mattered. But it doesn’t always. Take your time, old man. Shrug your shoulders back and lose the posture. We know you’re tired; you want a nap; you want a snack and a comb for your beard. So, nestle in with the lions-- they’re more welcoming than gruff. Use their teeth to sharpen your knowledge and then flash it ferociously when this city seems too tough.

There was a child went forth

There was a child went forth every day… Determined to make a difference in every way No candy bars for him, his mom could not pay In his sweet soul, that was okay To help with the rent he’d bring home some cents “Where does this come from?” mom would ask “From my pipe cleaner bracelets, the kids give me cash!” A flooded and troubled city needed much help Nothing remained but some sand and some kelp He cried for their loss and felt their pain Empathy flooded his nine-year old brain No seconds wasted, no time to point blame He rallied a city to fight grief in their name Door-to door handouts and benefits galore He raised awareness and dollars much much more Sixteen thousand in a drop of a hat This kid had a power, there was no denying that Positive influences and acts of kindness Can come out of nowhere in times of much stress The influential little man I met at that time Has given me a humbling story to share in this rhyme He taught me that even the smallest of things Can have really big hearts and considerable wings

I wandered lonely as a

I wandered lonely as a cloud... Maybe you and I should not try to plan our lives if only what we could see what we hold in our hands Not everybody knows which way a river flows not everybody seees the sun up in the sky Love hurts Every night and day love feelings never go away real love it is here to stay with you

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