Thursday, April 14, 2011

2011 poem in your pocket day

it's that time - another "poem in your pocket day" has arrived!

here's the scoop:

Celebrate national Poem In Your Pocket Day on Thursday, April 14, 2011!

The idea is simple: select a poem you love during National Poetry Month then carry it with you to share with co-workers, family, and friends.

every year i find a poem to carry around with me. in prior years it's been from allen ginsberg, gary snyder, and jack kerouac. this year, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the start of the civil war this week, it's a poem from walt whitman: "beat! beat! drums!"

BEAT! beat! drums! -- blow! bugles! blow!
Through the windows -- through doors -- burst like a ruthless force,
Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation,
Into the school where the scholar is studying;
Leave not the bridegroom quiet -- no happiness must he have now with his bride,
Nor the peaceful farmer any peace, ploughing his field or gathering his grain,
So fierce you whirr and pound you drums -- so shrill you bugles blow.

Beat! beat! drums! -- blow! bugles! blow!
Over the traffic of cities -- over the rumble of wheels in the streets;
Are beds prepared for sleepers at night in the houses? no sleepers must sleep in those beds,
No bargainers' bargains by day -- no brokers or speculators -- would they continue?
Would the talkers be talking? would the singer attempt to sing?
Would the lawyer rise in the court to state his case before the judge?
Then rattle quicker, heavier drums -- you bugles wilder blow.

Beat! beat! drums! -- blow! bugles! blow!
Make no parley -- stop for no expostulation,
Mind not the timid -- mind not the weeper or prayer,
Mind not the old man beseeching the young man,
Let not the child's voice be heard, nor the mother's entreaties,
Make even the trestles to shake the dead where they lie awaiting the hearses,
So strong you thump O terrible drums -- so loud you bugles blow.

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