American Poet, Songwriter and Novelist
Naomi Shihab Nye
American Poet, Songwriter and Novelist
For you who came so far; for you who held out, wearing a black scarf to signify grief; for you who believe true love can find you amidst this atlas of tears linking one town to its own memory of mortar, when it was still a dream to be built and people moved there, believing, and someone with sky and birds in his heart said this would be a good place for a park.
I support all people on earth who have bodies like and unlike my body, skins and moles and old scars, secret and public hair, crooked toes. I support those who have done nothing large.
In these evenings he sat by our beds weaving folktales like vivid little scarves.
My mother used to tell me when I went somewhere, "Please leave your foolishness at home." But how could I do that? It was stuck on me.
Remembering your mistakes more acutely than any minor success. This was the worst. The things that kept you up at night. Tip a waiter that was too small. The words that didn't fit the moment. Words that didn't come till to late. You could kill yourself in increments, punishing your spirit day after day-regret. Guilt. Not the guilt of the little girl who woke in the night embarrassed God was mad at her because she had ticked balls under her shirt, pretending to have breasts. I even felt sexy. That was sweet, and pure, no crime at all. But the crime of obsessive replay-get rid of it, get rid of it. Who could ever have known that hardest punishments would be the ones you gave yourself?
There is a place to stand where you can see so many lights you forget you are one of them.
When they say ?Don't I know you?? say no. When they invite you to the party remember what parties are like before answering. Someone telling you in a loud voice they once wrote a poem. Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate. Then reply. If they say we should get together. Say why? It's not that you don't love them anymore. You're trying to remember something too important to forget. Trees. The monastery bell at twilight. Tell them you have a new project. It will never be finished. When someone recognizes you in a grocery store nod briefly and become a cabbage. When someone you haven't seen in ten years appears at the door, don't start singing him all your new songs. You will never catch up. Walk around feeling like a leaf. Know you could tumble any second. Then decide what to do with your time.
Because sometimes I live in a hurricane of words and not one of them can save me.
Getting over what you did to me is not why I get out of bed anymore.
I think of a poem as being deeper than headline news.
It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness... You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it, and in that way, be known.
My mother used to tell me when I went somewhere, Please leave your foolishness at home. But how could I do that? It was stuck on me.
Since there is no place large enough to contain so much happiness, you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you into everything you touch. You are not responsible. You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it, and in that way, be known.
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.
Where we live in the world is never one place. Our hearts, those dogged mirrors, keep flashing us moons before we are ready for them.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
He?s mourning his son, number 3000 American dead in Iraq, but as far as he can feel, the worst one.
I think the job of writing and literature is to encourage each one of us to believe that we're living in a story.
It is difficult to predict what our finest moments will be, but we know when they happen.
Mystery: Everything felt better before you got there than when you actually got there. When you actually got there, you didn't quite have the energy to be there.
Skin had hope, that's what skin does. Heals over the scarred place, makes a road.
Those whom we did not know think they know us now.
Why are we so monumentally slow?
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. You must wake up with sorrow. You must speak to it till your voice catches the thread of all sorrows and you see the size of the cloth.
I am looking for the human who admits his flaws who shocks the adversary by being kinder not stronger. What would that be like? We don't even know.