Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Change Purse and Poem

The little change purse I found on the street contained only air.  I brought it home, intending to use it, but it lay on my desk for weeks, until this morning, when I decided to give it away.

I had been re-reading a poem of Garcia Lorca's, "La Luna Asoma," and remembered the last stanza with its startling images:

Cuando sale la luna
de cien rostros iguales,
las moneda de plata
solloza en el bolsillo.

When the moon rises
with a hundred identical faces,
the silver coins
sob in your pocket.

I copied the stanza and the translation onto an index card in purple ink, folded it twice, and put it and some quarters into the purse.  When I went out for my walk--in my Spanish-speaking neighborhood--I left it for someone to find.

It may have been childish, but I liked doing it.  Someone once told me that in order to lure their students, Hebrew teachers smeared honey on the pages of ancient texts.  I doubt it.  Honey would have ruined the pages, but there is something to be said for luring readers.

I've heard poets complain about the lack of appreciation for poetry.  What would happen if they left a poem and some silver money in a change purse for someone to find?  Someone might love the poem and be glad of the money.  Maybe the person who finds my little change purse will love the idea of silver money sobbing in a pocket.  Those lines--la moneda de plata/ solloza en el bolsillo--never seem sad to me.  The moon and all it represents is so powerful it can make money sob.  If the finders do not respond to the poems, they will still have a few coins to spend.  At the very least they will wonder.          


  1. What a neat idea. I love random acts of poetry. One more way to get the good words out there.

  2. Yes, giving away the poem and money or whatever without expecting an outcome!

  3. I love the little change purse and hope that someone finds it who will read the poem with pleasure...
    There was Poems-For-All in Sacrament that published these tiny, tiny books, one or two pages with a heavier cover, stapled, and left in odd places for people to find. I did send a poem to the publisher so that my work could be added to his give-aways. We should do something like this in Boston.

  4. Yes, in Boston, Melissa. I like including money. Thought of candy, but no one would eat it. Think of all the rumors at Halloween. I find myself wondering who found the little change purse and what they may have thought.