National Poetry Month comes to something of a crescendo today with Poem In Your Pocket Day. Originally invented by the Academy of American Poets, the Day provides a superb opportunity for people throughout Canada and the world to celebrate poetry in a wide range of ways. In its simplest form, just carry your favourite poem with you, read it and share it. Other more creative and inventive projects will be undertaken by progressive schools throughout the land, introducing thousands of kids and youth to the wonders of the poetic form.
I recently introduced a new poem of mine, “On Turning Into Raymond Souster.” In performing this piece, I share the story of how I carried a Raymond Souster poem with me for close to two years when I was about 10. This poem, “Search,” ultimately formed the basis and response mechanism for my “On Turning Into Raymond Souster.” So there’s the power of tucking poems into your pocket once in a while. In case you’ve not seen or read “Search” before, I’ve reproduced it below for your enjoyment. Note that Souster’s key subjects were the denizens of Toronto’s bar and diner scene, and “Search” is an excellent example of that………. Learn more about Poem In Your Pocket Day at the League of Canadian Poets, poets.ca/pocketpoem …. I’ll be performing “On Turning Into Raymond Souster” as a Feature Poet at Toronto’s Art Bar on June 27th…. full details in my “Gigs & Events” section on this website…… Yours In Poetry, David
Not another bite, not another cigarette
nor a final coffee from the shining coffee urn
before you leave
the warmth steaming at the windows of the hamburger joint
where the Wurlitzer
booms all night without a stop
where the onions are thick between the buns.
Wrap yourself well in that cheap coat
that holds back the wind like a sieve.
You have a long way to go, and the streets are dark.
You may have to walk all night before you find
another heart as lonely, so nearly mad with boredom
so filled with such strength, such tenderness of love.
Raymond Souster…..circa 1952