Poem in Your Pocket Day falls during our Spring Break this year. I couldn’t let the day, April 18th, slip by without bringing it to the attention of my students, so we started celebrating a bit early. I brought out the “pocket” I created last year and my students helped fill it with poems.
Yesterday, they emptied the pocket and shared poems with classmates. They carried them in their pockets as they left school on Friday and who knows, they may have them in their pockets again on the eighteenth.
When I looked for poems to share with the students, I found some fabulous ones in the book, National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems with Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar!
J. Patrick Lewis, U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate, edited this book. I’m grateful to our school librarian, Allison Brown, who loaned me her personal copy. From Jack Prelutsky to Emily Dickinson, there is a poet and poem for every taste. The focus on animals appealed to my students, especially with the accompanying photographs - they were spectacular! What child wouldn’t love a photograph and poem about a piranha or a panther? There is even a poem by one of my favorite poets from the past – Christina Georgina Rossetti.
HURT NO LIVING THING
Hurt no living thing:
Ladybird, nor butterfly,
Nor moth with dusty wing,
Nor cricket chirping cheerily,
Nor grasshopper so light of leap,
Nor dancing gnat, nor beetle fat,
Nor harmless worms that creep.
The kids were enthusiastic about our pocket activity and loved claiming a poem as their special one for the coming week. They left inspired. And who knows what poetry may come from these students in years ahead. I’m hopeful, on some future “Poem in Your Pocket Day,” I’ll be carrying one of their creations.