Poem In Your Pocket Day

I work as a Reading Specialist at a Charter school and today I helped us celebrate Poem In Your Pocket Day by standing outside the school greeting students and letting them pick a poem out of a basket to put in their pocket. It was totally fun and I loved doing it.  

This is the poem I currently "have in my pocket...." (If you haven't read Mary Oliver before, she's one of my favorite poets. She and Naomi Shihab Nye just seem to get poetry right).

You Must Change Your Life

Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day

for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,

to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,

or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air

as they strive

not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning

but for sheer delight and gratitude—
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

just to be alive

on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,

do not walk by

without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.

It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:

You must change your life.

-Mary Oliver


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