Monday, April 23, 2012

Celebrating poems

Simply Living
April 23, 2012

Poems were the storybooks of my childhood. They have always meant so much to me. Growing up, my two favorite collections were a 1936 edition of "The Best Loved Poems of the American People" and Robert Louis Stevenson's classic "A Child's Garden of Verses." The former — its cover long gone — still sits on a shelf in my bedroom. I always open it carefully so as not to disturb any of the pressed flowers and four-leaf-clovers placed years ago to mark special pages.

Sometime during high school and college, I discovered Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Ogden Nash, Tennyson and Wordsworth. The verses of A.A. Milne, Shel Silverstein and Bill Peet took on special meaning once I started having children of my own.

I don't have many lines memorized, but a few select verses have taken root in my mind. The familiarity of the words, the sentiments, the rhymes and rhythms are balm to my spirit. Like the old friends they are, I revisit them frequently for comfort and joy.

Unlike me, my father-in-law, Ralph P. Boas, knew many poems by heart. His capacity for remembering words of whimsy, story poems and limericks was truly remarkable. His splendidly executed recitations never failed to amaze and entertain. I've always felt fortunate to have married into a family with such a gifted patriarch.

My father-in-law and I not only shared an appreciation for all things poetic, we shared a passion for composing our own poetry, too.

I wrote my first poem when I was 9 and have since filled many an old napkin, scrap of paper and computer file with my introspective meanderings. Poetry was the outlet for my teenage angst and helped me over the hurdles of young parenthood. I've written rhymes to commemorate special occasions and others that simply satisfied my need to express the moment.

On Thursday, in honor of National Poetry Month and Poem in Your Pocket Day, I invite anyone who shares my passion for poetry to join me at 7 p.m. at Yada Yada Pottery & Indie Coffee House located in WindHorse Wellness Center in Eustis. I'll be there with a few favorite verses to read aloud and I hope you will bring along a special poem or two, too. All types of poems are welcome.

In a world in which woeful and frightening events often take center stage, we can all use a dose of soothing contemplation. I invite anyone to come to this free event with or without a poem in his or her pocket. Come to listen. Come to share. Come to celebrate the power and beauty of the written word.

For more information about Poem in Your Pocket Day as well as links to thousands of poems visit

Poem in Your Pocket Day
What: Informal gathering of people who enjoy poetry, their own or others.
When: 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday.
Where: Yada Yada Pottery & Indie Coffee House located in WindHorse Wellness Center, 351 Plaza Drive, Eustis.
Details: 352-735-1328, or
Cost: Free.

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