Thursday, April 18, 2013

You Know Who You Are by Naomi Shihab Nye

You Know Who You Are
By Naomi Shihab Nye

Why do your poems comfort me, I ask myself.
Because they are upright, like straight-backed chairs.
I can sit in them and study the world as if it too
were simple and upright.

Because sometimes I live in a hurricane of words
and not one of them can save me.
Your poems come in like a raft, logs tied together,
they float.
I want to tell you about the afternoon
I floated on your poems
all the way from Durango Street to Broadway.

Fathers were paddling on the river with their small sons.
Three Mexican boys chased each other outside the library.
Everyone seemed to have some task, some occupation,
while I wandered uselessly in the streets I claim to love.

Suddenly I felt the precise body of your poems beneath me,
like a raft, I felt words as something portable again,
a cup, a newspaper, a pin.
Everything happening had a light around it,
not the light of Catholic miracles,
the blunt light of a Saturday afternoon.
Light in a world that rushes forward with us or without us.
I wanted to stop and gather up the blocks behind me
in this light, but it doesn’t work.
You keep walking, lifting one foot, then the other,
saying “This is what I need to remember”
and then hoping you can.

from:  "Words Under the Words" by Naomi Shihab Nye, page 22


Wild Spring storms here in the swamp today.  So far, Spring has been violent as if the earth is giving birth...not an "easy" birth, but a difficult, excruciating, wildly harrowing birth. 

Today is "Poem in Your Pocket" day.  April is National Poetry Month which I don't celebrate because every single hour of every day is Poetry Day here at Casa Dragonfly. 


PS:  Congratulations to the illustrious, amazingly brilliant Sharon Olds for winning the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, 2013, for her book "Stag's Leap".


You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some of it with you. ~Joseph Joubert


Science is for those who learn; poetry, for those who know. ~Joseph Roux, Meditations of a Parish Priest



erin said...

and ironically held in the shining and finest place of being there are no words, we become beyond words. and so what is this irony, words saving us, words translating reality, bringing us along to transcendence? i don't understand this paradox and yet is the foundation of our being.

i love sharon olds. she is something so of the flesh and yet beyond too:)))

happy poetry every day, marion, the flesh and light of life.


Marion said...

your words have been my raft/comfort too many times to count, dearest Erin. the day I stumbled upon a woman in a window is forever burned into my heart & soul & flesh. xo

Wine and Words said...

Oh I love that. Her words are comforting while speaking of reading other words of comfort which I will transfer to someone else in hope to comfort, and...and...and, it is as if the room has no absorbency and the echo, no end :) Ah, such as it is with poems.

Love you my beautiful Marion!

Marion said...

Yes, the healing power of words...I love you too, my Annie, my BFF birthday girl today!! xo

Verna Wilder said...

I just happened upon your blog when I was looking for Anne Carson's poem, God's Justice. I started here:

Your site is beautiful, and as often happens with me and poetry, I started the day feeling like nothing matters, and then I read a poem that does.

Thank you!

Marion said...

Thanks for stopping by, Verna. Poetry is quite the healer, I've discovered over and over again...

I checked out the link and they do list some great poems. I'd have put "God's Justice" at #1 what with my crazylove of dragonflies. LOL! I'm glad you enjoyd your visit. Come back soon. xo

Snowbrush said...

It's a beautiful poem, Marion, my dear friend to whom I feel closer now than I would have ever imagined. Now, I have a comment that might surprise you a little:

"Everything happening had a light around it, not the light of Catholic miracles,"

When I read of that, I remembered one "Catholic miracle" that I'm very fond of. My favorite Catholic Church is in Port Gibson, Mississippi. It's a small church, which is very old for the area (1850-51), and here's a link to a photo of it. As you can see, the windows are blue, and this makes the air itself blue. If I lived in Port Gibson, I might have to attend services there sometimes (one of the four churches I belonged to was the Catholic Church, so I guess I have my bonafides--ha). Anyway, I actually did attend mass there once as a visitor from Oregon, and I think there might have been six in attendance, which made it all the better as far as I was concerned. You really ought to visit Port Gibson sometimes and take in Grand Gulf Military Park while in the area. Even if you don't care about military history, it's a nice place to walk around.

Marion said...

Snow, your comment does not surprise me at all. (You are dear to me, too, my Mississippi by way of Oregon are Tom and I am your Huck Finn).

I looked up Port Gibson and it's not all that far from where I live...a good daytripping ride. I'm only about an hour from Natchez, MS, one of our favorite places to ride our motorcycle to. I'll be sure to put it on my bucket list of places to visit soon. I love the way you describe the church, the blue light... xo

Snowbrush said...

Motorcyle!? I somehow missed knowing about that. My last neighbors bought a moped, and ended up with eight motorcycles, one of which they built from scratch.

Serena said...

Pretty, pretty poem!

Hope the wild spring storms have passed and left you in peace. It's been a wild spring here, too. Strange days, indeed.:)

quid said...

Hey, ML....

Did you get a hold of a copy of "Stag's Leap"? I loved it.

So painful ... I didn't personalize it from a marriage falling apart, because my own was more relief than pain.

Let me know if you don't have. I would gladly send it on to you...soulless as it is, I am collecting poems in Kindle format and I know you would give this a wonderful home.

Hugs, quid

Phoenix said...

What an incredibly beautiful poem. Thank you so much for sharing. I emailed it to a friend. :)

I've missed coming here so much. I hope you are doing well and that Spring becomes a little more gentle in the next few weeks.

hugs and love,