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Yesterday was “Poem in Your Pocket Day.” Sorry if you missed it—so did I, if that’s any consolation, though I had a note-to-self and everything. But since it’s National Poetry Month all the way through April, any day is a good day for carrying a poem in your pocket—on paper or electronically. I think this is a neat concept, even though I still live in the virtual dark ages and can barely enter new numbers in my cellphone—still haven’t figured out how to retrieve voice-messages (so if you’re calling me, don’t bother leaving a message. If I see that I’ve missed a call from you, I’ll call you back).

What poem(s) would I carry in my pocket? I propose a choice of two, in case of mood swings:

The Journey, by Mary Oliver

and this sonnet by John Milton:

When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide;
“Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?”
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
Either man’s work or His own gifts. Who best
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at His bidding speed,
And post o’er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

What poem or poems would you put in your pocket?

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