Monday, April 23, 2012

Finding My Way to Poetry

I was running late for my New York Cares volunteer commitment.  I needed to get to 1372 Broadway in the Fashion District but kept getting conflicting directions -- first from the hot dog guy on Times Square ("You're not anywheres close; take a right and keep walking.") to the newspaper/magazine guy ("Easy, take a left and keep walking.") Finally, with reliable directions from the hostess at Ruby Tuesday, who consulted her phone (why didn't I think of that?), I arrived at my destination.  The activity had been cancelled.

What to do?  Plan B - the library!  According to my phone (I'm a fast learner), it was an 8-minute walk to the "main branch" at 42nd and Fifth Avenue.  After heading the wrong direction for a couple of blocks, then turning my phone and myself around, I was there in 15.

It couldn't have been a more beautiful day to get lost (or temporarily off-track) in midtown Manhattan.

The library was awash in sunshine, 

with people occupying every available step in front, and sprawling on the Bryant Park lawn  behind.

The Children's Center's banner was the only invitation I needed to check out some children's books. . .  poetry books.
My pockets were completely empty of poems. Time to find just the right one!

In the 811 section under Waldo, Maisy and Arthur

I sat in a chair which Goldilocks would have described as "just right," and perused the shelves.  From listening to way too many Mother Goose rhymes when I was growing up, my ears prefer children's poems that rhyme; poems that make me laugh first and think later.  As a second-grade teacher, I found the children's all-time favorite poets were Dr. Seuss,  Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky.  I added J. Patrick Lewis to that list, and both students and teacher could be found chuckling and reveling in the joy of words all day!

Mmmmm. . .what to pick for my pocket.  Which poem should I choose to copy and carry around with me for the rest of the month, in case an inquisitive child should ask, "Do you have a poem in your pocket?'

To select just the right one would take some thought, and I needed food for those thoughts.  I remembered seeing an ice cream truck parked outside.

      Time to start reading. . .
      then find my way home.

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