Tag Archives: obscure holidays

Obscure Holidays: Great Poetry Reading Day

bullwinkleFinally an obscure holiday that actually fits into our poetry theme! Today, April 28th, is “Great Poetry Reading Day.” As you might imagine, this day celebrates all the incredible poetry out there! “Great” is a relative term of course, so you can take it to mean whatever you like (as long as it involves poetry, that is).

For today’s featured poem, I actually had a tough time figuring out what to pick. After all, there are so many to choose from…Shakespeare, Keats, Tennyson, Frost….but since I have a feeling this may be the last “obscure holidays” post for a long while, I think I’ll go with one befitting of its final installment:

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night
by Dylan Thomas
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Hope you guys enjoyed all the obscure holiday posts! And enjoy some great poetry today! Find some at Poets.org or the Poetry Foundation’s site.


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Obscure Holidays: Scrabble Day

On this installment of Obscure holidays, we have Scrabble Day, April 13th. You might think it difficult to find a suitable poem for this holiday, but wait until you see this–a Scrabble-tile poem that uses all 100 tiles to form an original poem in iambic pentameter:

scrabble poem

Pretty impressive, right? But if reading scrabble-tile lines of poetry makes your eyes bleed, here’s the actual text:

A Scrabble-Tile Poem by Mike Keith

Through sentient, gauzy flame I view life’s dread,
quixotic, partial joke. We’re vapour-born,
by logic and emotion seen as dead.

Plain cording weds great luxury ornate,
while moon-beams rise to die in Jove’s quick day;
I navigate the puzzle-board of fate.

Wait! Squeeze one hundred labels into jibes,
grip clay and ink to form your topic – rage;
await the vexing mandate of our lives.

I rush on, firm, to raid my aged tools,
but yet I touch an eerie, vain, blank piece,
as oxide grown among life’s quartz-paved jewels.

Once zealous Bartlebooth, a timid knave,
portrayed grief’s calm upon a jigsaw round;
yet now he lies, fixed quiet in his grave.

Just so we daily beam our pain-vexed soul
with fiery craze to aim large, broken core
and quest in vain to find the gaping hole.

And if you’re confused about just who “Bartlebooth” is, Mike Keith’s post has got you covered:

Who is “Bartlebooth”, you might ask? Ah, this strikes at the very core of the poem. Bartlebooth is the jigsaw-puzzling main character of Georges Perec’s massive constrained novel “La Vie mode d’emploi” (“Life A User’s Manual”). Perec’s novel consists of 100 chapters with one blank (missing), modeled after a Paris apartment building with 100 rooms. The theme of missing things constantly reappears (e.g., Bartlebooth dies as the puzzle he is working on has a single piece-shaped hole.)

It takes some real Scrabble devotion to create a poem like this, so kudos to Mike Keith (you can visit his original post here). And happy Scrabbling!

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Obscure Holidays: International Pillow Fight Day

pillow-fightMark your calendars everyone, because this Saturday, April 6th is apparently “International Pillow Fight Day.” This holiday is celebrated around the world with–you guessed it–massive pillow fights! Seriously, there’s an official website for it and everything. A ton of cities will be hosting events (including Atlanta), so chances are, you’ll be able to participate if you’re interested. In honor of the holiday, here’s a poem titled “Pillow”:

“Pillow” by Li-Young Lee

There's nothing I can't find under there.
Voices in the trees, the missing pages
of the sea.

Everything but sleep.

And night is a river bridging
the speaking and the listening banks,

a fortress, undefended and inviolate.

There's nothing that won't fit under it:
fountains clogged with mud and leaves,
the houses of my childhood.

And night begins when my mother's fingers
let go of the thread
they've been tying and untying
to touch toward our fraying story's hem.

Night is the shadow of my father's hands
setting the clock for resurrection.

Or is it the clock unraveled, the numbers flown?

There's nothing that hasn't found home there:
discarded wings, lost shoes, a broken alphabet.

Everything but sleep. And night begins

with the first beheading
of the jasmine, its captive fragrance
rid at last of burial clothes.

Hope everyone has some fun today!

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Obscure Holidays: International Waffle Day!

wafflesYep, how could I live with myself if I failed to acknowledge Waffle Day in one of my obscure holiday posts? After all, I think we can all agree that few things in life are so worthy of praise as waffles. In fact, waffles are so deserving that they actually have two holidays all to themselves–International Waffle Day and National Waffle Day, August 24th. Today’s version of the holiday originated in Sweden and is called “Våffeldagen.” According to the website I found it on, this day “was also considered the start of spring in Sweden and Europe.  It became a custom for Swedish families to celebrate the two events by making waffles on this day.” So there you have it–waffles bring families closer together.

In case you’re wondering about the other waffle day in August, it was founded in order to celebrate the patenting of the waffle iron by Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York on August 24, 1869. Can you believe waffle irons have been around for that long? Apparently, waffles themselves have been around for even longer, dating back to the 1300s in Greece (although they were topped with cheese and herbs then, because sadly, pancake syrup wasn’t around). Also, did I say there were only two waffle holidays? Sorry, I meant three, because there’s also a separate day simply called “Waffle Iron Day” on June 29th. In any case, it’s clear waffles get a lot of love.

But does that love equate to poetry? Typing “waffle” into the Poetry Foundation’s search bar didn’t net me much, so I decided to take a different approach this week. Rather than trying to find classic or well-written poems on the subject, I just went for some fun ones. How about beginning with a poem written by the Waffle House itself (posted on its Facebook page):

“Waffle House” by Waffle House

Waffle House Waffle House
We are home grown

Where the Customer is king
And every booth is a throne

Waffle House Waffle House
Home away from home

Scattered Smothered Covered Diced
The All-Star zone

Waffle House Waffle House
New home of the Toddle House

Come one come all
Bring the whole family out

Waffle House Waffle House
We’re here 24/7

Bert’s Chili, Alice’s Tea
Welcome to heaven

It’s a good thing heaven’s open 24/7 (and during most major natural disasters). But if the waffle house poem doesn’t satisfy your craving for waffle tributes, how about this hilarious entry (it’s long, but trust me, it won’t take long to read):

I Want My Waffles

by QueenDragonLady

I have an Urge for Waffles

Wake up in the morning

Something smells good

It’s just pancakes and eggs

And I’m not in the mood

I want something FUNKY

And weird looking too



Can’t get enough


They taste so yummy


They fill my tummy


Chocolate chips melting

Smells inviting

Its for breakfast



And I say…

I have an urge for…


Oh so funny


They make me happy


My one desire


I’ll roast over an open fire


Don’t give me a pancake

I’ll just break the plate!

Don’t give me an egg

I’ll just beg!

Don’t give me cereal

Yea I’m for real!














ur still reading this? Go make my waffles!

No! Make them now!

Yes now! Did I stutter?


Well, I think that pretty much sums up most people’s opinions on waffles. So what are you waiting for! Go get some! And perhaps use them as inspiration for your own creative waffle poetry.

If I ever go to Brussels, I'm visiting this place.

If I ever visit Brussels, I’m going to this place.

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Obscure Holidays: Near Miss Day, March 23

AsteroidIn this installment of Obscure Holidays, I present to you “Near Miss Day,” today on March 23rd. Apparently, this day was established to celebrate March 23rd, 1989, when an asteroid the size of a mountain just barely slipped past earth, passing within 500,000 miles of the planet. This holiday seems especially relevant, as some of you might remember the asteroid in mid-February that passed within 17,200 miles of earth. So in actuality, it seems this recent asteroid probably deserves its own holiday more than the old one, but ah well–for now, we’ll go with March 23rd.

It wasn’t an easy task to find a fitting poem for this particular day, but I think I found one that’s appropriate enough. It’s called “The Age of Dinosaurs” by James Scruton, and it’s a fairly recent poem (2001) I discovered on the Poetry Foundation’s website. It might not be about asteroids per se, but it’s close enough, and I quite like the poem anyway:

The Age of Dinosaurs
by James Scruton
There are, of course, theories
about the wide-eyed, drop-jawed
fascination children have for them,
about how, before he’s learned
his own phone number or address,
a five-year-old can carry
like a few small stones
the Latin tonnage of those names,
the prefixes and preferences
for leaf or meat.
My son recites the syllables
I stumble over now,
sets up figures as I did
years ago in his prehistory.
Here is the green ski slope
of a brontosaur’s back,
there a triceratops in full
gladiator gear. From the arm
of a chair a pterodactyl
surveys the dark primeval carpet.
Each has disappeared from time
to time, excavated finally
from beneath a cabinet
or the sofa cushions, only
to be buried again among its kind
in the deep toy chest,
the closed lid snug as earth.
The next time they’re brought out
to roam the living room
another bone’s been found
somewhere, a tooth or fragment
of an eggshell dusted off,
brushing away some long-held notion
about their life-span
or intelligence, warm blood
or cold. On the floor
they face off as if debating
the latest find, what part
of which one of them
has been discovered this time.
Or else they stand abreast
in one long row, side
by scaly side, waiting to fall
like dominoes, my son’s
tossed tennis ball a neon yellow
asteroid, his shadow a dark cloud
when he stands, his fervor for them
cooling so slowly he can’t feel it—
the speed of glaciers, maybe,
how one age slides into the next.

With all this talk of asteroids, I’d suggest getting in some poetry reading while you still can. After all, you never know when a giant flaming rock might cut your reading days short. Although recently, I’ve heard talk of scientists trying to find new ways to deflect asteroids, like with laser beams and whatnot…I wonder if any of that stuff would actually work out? Anyway, if you wanna hear a funny song about dinosaurs/asteroids, check this one out on youtube.

I had to put this here.

I had to put this here.

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Obscure Holidays: International Earth Day

earth-dayNot to be confused with the more well-known U.S. Earth Day (April 22), this is international Earth day (which actually makes more sense…after all, isn’t earth day about celebrating the entire earth?). Anyway, this particular Earth Day is also known as “Sun-Earth Day” and was started in 1970 (incidentally, the exact same year that U.S. Earth day started). It is always celebrated during the spring equinox, which happens to be today! You don’t have to look hard to find nature-related poems, and here’s one that many of you might know:

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
by William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
I thought this one especially fit for celebrating nature–as it points out, you don’t actually have to be out in nature to appreciate its beauty. Sure, it helps to be out in the fields, but if you’re too lazy to leave your couch, at least you still have your imagination to conjure it up for you. And what better way to spark your imagination than with poetry? Find more Wordsworth poems here at the Poetry Foundation (you can bet that nearly all of them have something to do with nature). But you can also find nature poems here at Poets.org. And of course, Robert Frost is another famous nature poet (I had to hold myself back from posting another of his poems this time, but I thought it’d be nice to give some other poets a turn in the spotlight). Still, you can read many of his poems here as well.
So Happy Sun-Earth day! And no matter how impressive your powers of imagination, I’d still suggest stepping outside and appreciating nature in its true form, especially if you happen to have a field of daffodils located conveniently nearby.

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Obscure Holidays: National Pig Day, March 1st!

Some pig!

Some pig!

Welcome back to another edition of “obscure holidays.” Today, we’re celebrating National Pig Day! The apparent purpose of this holiday is to “recognize and give thanks to domesticated pigs.” I don’t know why it’s so specific to “domesticated pigs”–I mean, it’s not like there are any other types of pigs, right? A wild pig would be like a boar, wouldn’t it? Either way, pigs are worth celebrating. Otherwise, why would Charlotte go to all that trouble to save Wilbur in Charlotte’s WebBesides, pigs are actually highly intelligent creatures–you can even train them to do tricks! And we can thank Ellen Stanley, an art teacher in Texas, for recognizing the value of pigs and consequently starting up this holiday back in 1972. To celebrate, here’s “Pig-In-A-Blanket” by Matthew Rohrer, courtesy of The Poetry Foundation (you can even listen to a reading of it on the site):

****Pig-In-A-Blanket by Matthew Rohrer
I wake up, bound tightly.
A warm, valerian smell cascades
to my palate. I can only move
my eyelids and toes.
Heat sits impishly on my chest,
at my throat, curtains of it brushing against me.
Panic creeps out of my armpits.
I can only move my eyelids and toes,
and this constant fluttering
lulls me to sleep.
I awake late and move like a bee
through the apartment,
from station to station
from the blue flame
to the shimmering disc.
From the stairs to the street,
to the grocery store.
To the meat aisle. To the cocktail wieners.
To make pigs-in-a-blanket,
to share them with friends.
To sink into bed, to bind myself
tightly in blankets, to flutter off into sleep,
and then on past sleep,
to be carried by admirers across a wooden bridge.
Later I will burn this bridge.
Okay, so this isn’t exactly a pig tribute poem, but until somebody writes “Ode to a Pig,” it’s the best we’ve got.
Find out more about obscure holidays here!
It's Official: Pigs Are Awesome

It’s Official: Pigs Are Awesome

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Obscure Holidays: Public Sleeping Day

sealion-sleeping-on-benchJust to spice things up, I’m (attempting) to start a new tradition on this blog of honoring obscure holidays through poetry. The first one I’ll pay tribute to is February 28th’s “Public Sleeping Day.” Chances are that many of you already celebrate this holiday on a daily basis (especially during classes, if you’re a student), but tomorrow, at least you’ll have an excuse for your actions. And just to get you in the mood, here’s Keats’s “To Sleep”:

*****To Sleep by John Keats*****
O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
      Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
Our gloom-pleas’d eyes, embower’d from the light,
      Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
      In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the “Amen,” ere thy poppy throws
      Around my bed its lulling charities.
Then save me, or the passed day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,—
      Save me from curious Conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
      Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
And seal the hushed Casket of my Soul.
If you’d like to enhance your knowledge of more obscure holidays, you can find plenty at this website. Happy Public Sleeping Day!

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