Tuesday, July 7, 2015

What Have You Lost? Poems selected by Naomi Shihab Nye

Hello! I was going to save this post for Poetry Friday, but I can't wait -- and the nieces/little sister are coming in for Camp Buttercup starting tomorrow, so I may not be able to get back here this week! If I don't, and even if I do, Happy (early) Poetry Friday! On Friday be sure to visit Katie at The Logonauts for Roundup.

I'm excited to share with you two poems from one of this year's beach-thrift-store finds:  WHAT HAVE YOU LOST, poems selected by Naomi Shihab Nye.

Waking Instructions
by Emma Mellon

Crawl ashore
to the damp beginning of day.

Forget before and after.

Allow yourself
to be spelled differently.

It will feel like falling.

It has waiting attached.

**"Allow yourself to be spelled differently." This one is going on my How To Live Your Poem list! Love!

Simple Song of Being Oneself
by Vittorio Bodini (translated from Italian by Ruth Feldman and Brian Swann)

The ivy tells me: you'll never
be ivy. And the wind:
you won't be wind. And the sea:
you won't be sea.

Rags, rivers, bridal dawn
tell me: you won't be rag or river,
you won't be bridal dawn.

The anchor, the four of diamonds, the sofa bed
tell me: you won't be us,
you never have been.

And so say dream, arch, peninsula,
spiderweb, espresso machine.

The mirror says:
how can you be a mirror
if all you give  back is your own image?

Things say: try to be yourself
without us.
Spare us your love.

Delicately I flee from everything,
I try to stay alone. I find
death, fear.


  1. Wow, I love "Allow yourself to be spelled differently." I'm going to be thinking about that line all day!

  2. Both of these are wonderful. Glad you didn't wait until Friday!

  3. Wow, thanks for sharing these, Irene! These are both poems to ponder. I love the challenge to be yourself but with the acknowledgement that it can be a cold and lonely journey.

  4. You have a gift for finding what is lost. And I love that you can allow yourself to be spelled differently!

  5. Appreciations Irene.
    I have yet read a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye that didn't make me stop, think, shiver, sigh, reread it or otherwise glom onto her words.
    She should be the next poet laureate.
    Want to share that she has a forthcoming picture book/poem from Wordsong, illustrated by Lisa Desimini. I think it's STAR or STAR is in the title.


Your thoughts?