Thankful Thursday: Poem in Your Pocket

Oh, what delight! The convergence of my favorite days: Thankful Thursday and Poem in Your Pocket Day.

Created by the Academy of American Poets as part of National Poetry Month, Poem in Your Pocket Day encourages you to carry a poem and share it with others.

Call me a sap but I enjoy a designated opportunity to share poetry. On this Thankful Thursday, I sing the praises of poems carried, clutched, and shared.

Here's an old favorite. Over the years, each time I read the poem I appreciate it in a deeper way. I like this about poetry: the words do not change but the experience I bring to a poem changes. Sometimes we grow into, and with, a poem.


       for my mother

Just when it has seemed I couldn't bear

   one more friend

waking with a tumor, one more maniac


with a perfect reason, often a sweetness

   has come

and changed nothing in the world


except the way I stumbled through it,

   for a while lost

in the ignorance of loving


someone or something, the world shrunk

   to mouth-size,

hand-size, and never seeming small.


I acknowledge there is no sweetness

   that doesn't leave a stain,

no sweetness that's ever sufficiently sweet . . .


Tonight a friend called to say his lover

   was killed in a car

he was driving. His voice was low


and guttural, he repeated what he needed

   to repeat, and I repeated

the one or two words we have for such grief


until we were speaking only in tones.

   Often a sweetness comes

as if on loan, stays just long enough


to make sense of what it means to be alive,

   then returns to its dark

source. As for me, I don't care


where it's been, or what bitter road

   it's traveled

to come so far, to taste so good.


Stephen Dunn


Gratitude. Appreciation. Praise. Please join me for Thankful Thursday, a weekly pause to give thanks for people, places, and things in our lives. What are you thankful for today?