Famous, Naomi Shihab Nye

April is National Poetry month in the United States, and since I’m traveling with extremely limited internet access April 19-May 1, I would like to share a few poems while I’m gone. I’ll be back on Thursday, May 2 with a full post.

 

Famous

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.

8 thoughts on “Famous, Naomi Shihab Nye

  1. One of my favorite and she is an amazing and gracious woman. I will never forget her coming to Manchester New Hampshire and working with ESL classes — encouraging poems written is every style, every language.

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