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Poem in Your Pocket Day 2011

"Child on swing © Rebecca Newman 2009"Today is Poem in Your Pocket Day!

I love pockets, and the bits and pieces carried around in them (except tissues, after the washing machine—I don’t love those). Carrying a poem around in your pocket is fun. You can read it to yourself if you need cheering up. You can read it to someone else if they need cheering up. You can give it to someone—as a Poem in Your Pocket Day present. And you can even use it for inspiration to write your own poem.

The first poem I ever remember learning (if you don’t count nursery rhymes) was The Swing by Robert Louis Stevenson. My mum used to recite it whenever we went to the park and we begged her to push us on the swings.

The first poem I remember learning at school was Forgiven by AA Milne. And that’s the poem I have in my pocket today.

by AA Milne

I found a little beetle; so that Beetle was his name,
And I called him Alexander and he answered just the same.
I put him in a match-box, and I kept him all the day …
And Nanny let my beetle out—
Yes, Nanny let my beetle out—
She went and let my beetle out—
And Beetle ran away.

She said she didn’t mean it, and I never said she did,
She said she wanted matches and she just took off the lid,
She said that she was sorry, but it’s difficult to catch
An excited sort of beetle you’ve mistaken for a match.

She said that she was sorry, and I really mustn’t mind,
As there’s lots and lots of beetles which she’s certain we could find,
If we looked about the garden for the holes where beetles hid—
And we’d get another match-box and write BEETLE on the lid.

We went to all the places which a beetle might be near,
And we made the sort of noises which a beetle likes to hear,
And I saw a kind of something, and I gave a sort of shout:
“A beetle-house and Alexander Beetle coming out!”

It was Alexander Beetle I’m as certain as can be,
And he had a sort of look as if he thought it must be Me,
And he had a sort of look as if he thought he ought to say:
“I’m very very sorry that I tried to run away.”

And Nanny’s very sorry too for you-know-what-she-did,
And she’s writing ALEXANDER very blackly on the lid,
So Nan and Me are friends, because it’s difficult to catch
An excited Alexander you’ve mistaken for a match.

Do you know a poem you’d like to put in your pocket? If you had a poem in your pocket, would you keep it a secret? Or would you read it to someone?

~ Rebecca (Editor, Alphabet Soup)


This post was added by Rebecca Newman. Rebecca is a children's writer and poet, and the editor of the Australian children's literary blog, Alphabet Soup. For more about Rebecca visit:

3 thoughts on “Poem in Your Pocket Day 2011

  1. I can never read the words of Forgiven without hearing Melanie sing it in that husky voice of hers!

    Do you know, I’ve never actually thought about keeping my pocket poem a secret. But there is something totally delightful in that idea. Maybe I will reconsider my strategy for next year.

  2. I really liked that poem Forgiven because it is about a bug and I love bugs. Today, I’ll keep a poem in my pocket. It’s the Alphabet Monster by Robert Heidbreder.

    I’m the Alphabet Monster
    And nothing tastes better
    To the Alphabet MOnster
    THan eating a letter.
    A “J” and an “a”
    And a “c” and a “k”
    I munch every day.

    I’m hungry now.
    What shall I do?
    I think I’ll eat
    a “y”
    an “o”
    and a “u”

    That means YOU!

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