The Poem in My Pocket

April 25th is national Poem in Your Pocket Day.

The idea is to carry a poem in your back pocket to share with your family, friends, co-workers, the strangers on the subway or in the park.

The poem in my pocket will be Here I Am  by Michael Ryan

Here I Am  by Michael Ryan

on a subway station bench
next to two teens, one pretty, one not:
the pretty one keeps saying how much
she’ll miss the unpretty one, kissing her cheeks,
while the unpretty one looks down at her lap
saying no you won’t no you won’t until the train comes
and on goes the pretty one still smiling,
twirling her red plastic clutch, singing goodbye
I’ll call you, and the unpretty one just sits here
like a stone, even after the train is gone,
even after I write this down.

Here I Am” by Michael Ryan, from This Morning. (c) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.


About dearrosie

We think we need so much, when all we really need is time to breathe. Come walk with me, put one foot in front of the other, and get to know yourself. Please click the link to my blog - below - and leave me a comment. I love visitors.
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30 Responses to The Poem in My Pocket

  1. Interesting the lack of quotation marks. Makes a difference in the reading of this.

    • dearrosie says:

      I think it would’ve lost some of it’s spontaneity if there had been quotation marks. As a teacher would you take off marks because of the missing quotation marks?

      • Absolutely not. They’re not supposed to be there. For me, the lack of quotations, underscores the lack of sincerity in the conversation. I must e-mail you another thought and follow-up to my last e-mail.

      • dearrosie says:

        Your students are lucky to have a teacher like you.

        Look forward to getting your email update.

  2. Sybil says:

    I didn’t know that April 25 was “Poem in my pocket” day.

    That poem sure gets one thinking, but it’s a bit sad.

    • dearrosie says:

      “Poem in my pocket” day is part of April’s Poem-a-day month in the United States.

      The poem is sad eh? It leaves you wanting to know what happened to the one on the bench.

  3. shoreacres says:

    Someone recently mentioned on another blog how much more difficult life is for a person who is left, than it is for the one leaving. This poem captures that so well – it isn’t really the prettiness or plainness that’s the issue, as it is the leaving and being left.

    And of course there’s that experience we’ve all had – of watching events unfold, and not being able to do one thing to stop of change them.

    I like the way the phrase “no you won’t no you won’t” seems to carry the rhythm of the train wheels.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Linda,
      You know why it’s more difficult for the person left behind? Because the other person’s going to have a new adventure and meet new people while the one left behind is still sitting on the bench. Alone…

      It’s beautiful how repeating a simple phrase like “no you won’t no you won’t” carries along the rhythm of the train wheels.

  4. Touching…haunting…sad. I’ve never heard of National Poem in Your Pocket Day! I love the idea of it! Debra

  5. Priya says:

    The poem is so sad.
    And Linda above has so beautifully seen and talked of it.

    Thanks for letting know about the Poem in My Pocket day. I do not wear anything that has a backpocket these days. But I’ll still share this poem somewhere, with someone.

  6. magsx2 says:

    I have never hear of Poem in My Pocket day before, but I think it is a wonderful idea.
    A very sad poem by by Michael Ryan, I easily pictured this as I was reading and you could actually see this very thing happening to somebody.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello Mags,
      “Poem in my pocket” day is part of April’s Poem-a-day month in the United States. I’m glad I was able to share it with you all today.

      I love that it’s a simply written poem of a few lines that anyone can understand, and everyone can see that poor girl left on the bench

  7. munchow says:

    A sad poem. Like someone else wrote, it’s always hardest for the one left behind, which is the story of this poem. I like the idea of Poem in My Pocket Day. Didn’t know about before , though.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello Otto,
      It’s a sad poem but I love that it’s just a few lines long and written so simply that everyone can see that poor girl left on the bench.

      Next year in April I’ll let you all know in time so you can put a poem in your back pockets.

  8. Arindam says:

    This day is sounding interesting, “Poem in my pocket”. I used to keep Hanuman Chalisa (a devotional song based on Lord Hanuman); but I never ever heard about this day before.
    This poem is a really beautiful one. I hope you do read lots of poems.

  9. Kathy says:

    I like this poem. Even though it’s sad, it’s real. It brings out the Pretty and not-Pretty one in each of us. thank you, Rose.

    • dearrosie says:

      Hi Kathy,
      I like the way you put it, “It brings out the Pretty and not-Pretty one in each of us”. We can all see those two women at the station and we all want to know what happened to the one left behind.

      Thanks for stopping by and enjoying Michael Ryan’s poem.

  10. Your love of poetry and extraordinary knowledge about it is captivating.You constantly introduce us to new and fascinating poems, for which I am most appreciative. Is poetry something you grew up reading and appreciating or is it a fairly new passion?

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello EOS,
      I love sharing simple poems with people who never understood poetry at school or only know the “I wandered lonely as a cloud” variety.

      I learned to love poetry when I was working for a children’s book wholesaler in the 1980s and went around to the school boards in the county with the English poet Michael Rosen. I must share some of his poetry with you.

  11. sonali says:

    That’s such a heart touching piece. But tell me Rosie, does the pretty one remember and call the unpretty one? How often she does? what happens next? 😦 Why do the people we find pretty leave us and then they don’t ever stay in touch? 😦 I just tell myself that people have some role to play in our life and once they are done, they just leave. The new people then come into our life and it continues. But how correct am I? what’s your opinion about it Rosie?

    • dearrosie says:

      Hello Sonali
      We know the answer just as the “unpretty” girl on the bench knows, that once the train pulls out of the station the pretty one will forget her friend on the bench.

      You ask why people don’t stay in touch? I think that there are some people that just come into our lives and leave on the next train without a thought for us, or our feelings, but there are some people who never forget us no matter how far away they go and those are the ones who we should honor with our love. What do you think?

  12. souldipper says:

    Good poem, Rosie. I hope all of us have experienced being both teens. It helps compassion grow. I’m intrigued by Georgette’s comments – glad you questioned her about quotation marks. Hmmm….

    • souldipper says:

      My last sentence is ambiguous. I mean to express appreciation for her teachings!

    • dearrosie says:

      That’s a very good point Amy. We only learn compassion when we experience what it’s like being both those girls.

      I was also glad that Georgette noticed the missing quotation marks. Punctuation marks certainly change the way we read a poem, but some poets – for example ee cummings – never use anything other than lower case. I wonder how teachers approach his poetry. Or if they do.

  13. Hi Rosie, I’ve never heard of this holiday, and I thank you for introducing me to it! 🙂 Though — such a sad poem. I enjoy stories with resolutions, and if there isn’t one, I’ll make one up in my head. It’s like a musical chord left unanswered. There are pairs of chords, you know, that compliment each other. And when I hear a poem like this, it’s as if I am left hanging, waiting for the sound to warm back in.

    But no matter how you interpret a piece of writing, the important fact is that you carried it with you all day! Did you share it with your friends and coworkers?

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