Poetry Friday: Famous

I love Naomi Shihab Nye’s work. Her poems never fail to make me stop and just sit, thinking for a while. This one is one of my favourites.

Famous- by Naomi Shihab Nye

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.

I found this at Poetry Out Loud.

What would you like to be famous for?

(photo © David Martín :: Suki_ :: for openphoto.net CC:Attribution-ShareAlike)

6 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Famous

  1. Martha Calderaro

    She is a great poet! I was just looking at her poems “When You Come to a Corner” and “Full Day” earlier today. I especially like the lines in the one you posted: “The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it / and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.” A friend was at my house this afternoon, and we were looking at an old photo I keep on our fridge, the photo found at a flea market last summer. There’s a story in the b&w image, helped along by what someone wrote on the back: “Irene feeding the chickens in Germany. Before she married Fred.”

  2. Mrs. F-B

    I was looking for a Naomi Shihab Nye poem last week for my Poetry Friday post. I ultimately chose something else, but it was lovely to then read her work on your site. Thanks!

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