A Favorite Poem from a Poet One Reviewer Says “Breathes Poetry Like the Rest of Us Breathe Air. When She Exhales, the World Becomes Different. Better.”

Carlos Salum of Charlotte, NC., shares one of his favorite poems, called “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 the 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.

Thanks, Carlos. I’m not much of a poet (and know it) and not often a reader of poetry (and regret it). Your sending me the Nye poem sent me looking for more information about the poet. Turns out Naomi Shihab Nye is a poet many believe worth reading. More information here: “Naomi Shihab Nye”.

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