Wednesday, March 21, 2018

VOICES IN THE AIR by Naomi Shihab Nye

Just wanted to share today a couple of favorite poems from VOICES IN THE AIR: Poems for Listeners by Naomi Shihab Nye. The book is in part a celebration of some of Naomi's favorite poets and artists. It's also kind of a recipe for living. AND it shows readers how this writing life isn't solitary at all. Our writing is impacted by everything we read... and we should be reading A LOT. Including this book. :) Enjoy!

Woven by Air, Texture by Air

“Your job is to find out what the world is trying to be.” - William Stafford

Some birds hide in leaves so effectively
you don't see they're all around you.
Brown tilted heads, observing human maneuvers
on a sidewalk. Ws that a crumb someone threw?
Picking and poking, no fanfare for company,
gray huddle on a branch, blending in.
Attention deeper than a whole day.
Who says, I'll be a thoughtful bird when I grow up?
Stay humble, blend, belong to all directions.
Fly love, love a shadow. And sing, sing freely,
never let anything get in the way of your singing,
not darkness, not winter,
not the cries of flashier birds, not the silence
that finds you steadfast
pen ready, at the edge of four a.m.
Your day is so wide it will outlive everyone.
It has no roof, no sides.

- Naomi Shihab Nye

In Transit

I mailed a package to myself, it never arrived.
Months later, wondering what it contained...
the package was oversized, I paid extra.
Mailed it from a place under trees. Surely shade
and sunlight was in the package. Mailed it
from a place compassionate to refugees.
Unopened envelopes inside the package,
poems from kind students hoping for response.
How do we answer without knowing
who they were or what they said?
This is why you must smile at everyone,
living and dead, everywhere you go.
You have no idea what has been lost
in transit.

- Naomi Shihab Nye


  1. I love her writing. I don't know this book but I want to see it and hold it. I also love the poems you shared and their message. Poetry, takes us home, takes us anywhere, and everywhere if we follow. Thank you, Irene. I come to your blog often but can't always comment. Lovely work. Just like you. Generous.
    Janet F.

  2. I am grateful that Jan A at Bookseed Studio showcased this link, Irene. Thank you for the morning aha's from Naomi Shihab Nye's collection.


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