Naomi Shihab Nye
 

Naomi Shihab Nye

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I am partial to poems about
little ruinations, explosions of minor joy,
light falling on the heads of gentle elders.
Also the way pampas grasses look toward
the end of summer, shining, shaggy,
the quietude of their patient sway.
Cakes in a window do something for me too.
Even the doilies where cakes once sat
marked with small stains, crumbs of sugar...
can you see my proclivity for the words
"small" and "little," a diminutive tendency
in a world given often to the sprawling and huge?
You could try a pebble, a miniature box.
People with the patience for origami—well,
I am not one,
but I like to see what they fold.
Toddlers in grocery carts
swinging plump legs make me pause–
how difficult not to touch them.
If you send something about a mound of lentils,
I will be intrigued. The general potency and power
of humankind, however, is hard for me to get my mind
around. Watch that girl guard her empty sack
after the muffin is gone, puffing it, listening to
its breath. Consider the blue velvet hair band
dropped in a puddle at the water park
or the small yellow shovel we found half-buried
on the beach
at Kailua that we carried with us six months
to every place
there were waves.

 

 

From YOU AND YOURS (BOA Editions, 2005)

 

Poems by
Naomi Shihab Nye

Muchas Gracias Por Todo

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For Mohammed Zeid of Gaza, Age 15

  

Cross that Line
(Available as a broadside.)