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The poem I’m carrying in my pocket today: A call to create

Today is Carry a Poem in Your Pocket Day in the United States — the day every April where people select a poem to carry in their pocket and share with others. It’s one more way to celebrate poetry during National Poetry Month.

I’ve been reading the work of Spanish poets recently and found a poem that struck me. “Throw Yourself Like Seed” by Miguel de Unamuno speaks to me about the low points that can affect all of us and the call to return to what makes us feel most alive — our work, which for me means writing.

“Shake off this sadness, and recover your spirit;” de Unamuno writes.

Ultimately, finding purpose through a creative pursuit builds strength and is the way to a full life. And the words we commit to the page will be a legacy long after we are gone.

“But to live is to work, and the only thing which lasts
Is the work; start there, turn to the work.”

This poem inspires me to follow what I’m led to do so that I can live without regret. The poem ends with a command to offer everything you have — your talent, your creativity, your passion — to a larger purpose or risk death. It is in this act of creative surrender that we find ourselves.

“Leave what’s alive in the furrow, what’s dead in yourself,
For life does not move in the same way as a group of clouds;
From your work you will be able one day to gather yourself.”

What poem inspires you? For a selection of poems, visit the Academy of American Poets website.

Share your poem choice in the comments below or on Twitter by using the hashtag #pocketpoem.

Throw Yourself Like Seed
Miguel de Unamuno

Shake off this sadness, and recover your spirit;
Sluggish you will never see the wheel of fate
That brushes your heel as it turns going by,
The man who wants to live is the man in whom life is abundant.

Now you are only giving food to that final pain
Which is slowly winding you in the nets of death,
But to live is to work, and the only thing which lasts
Is the work; start there, turn to the work.

Throw yourself like seed as you walk, and into your own field,
Don’t turn your face for that would be to turn it to death,
And do not let the past weigh down your motion.

Leave what’s alive in the furrow, what’s dead in yourself,
For life does not move in the same way as a group of clouds;
From your work you will be able one day to gather yourself.

 

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