Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Day and the Dark

Last week, SB and I joined a group of writers, poets, and other friends of conscience for dinner in our sister city to the South. The occasion was primarily a book signing with Naomi Nye.

Although, I missed the signing, I understand that it was packed.

It's pretty clear why.

The Day

I missed the day
on which it was said
others should not have
certain weapons, but we could.
Not only could, but should,
and do.
I missed that day.
Was I sleeping?
I might have been digging
in the yard,
doing something small and slow
as usual.
Or maybe I wasn't born yet.
What about all the other people
who aren't born?
Who will tell them?

©Naomi Shihab Nye
You and Yours 2005


Relative to our plans for your country,
we will blast your tree, crush your cart,
stun your grocery.
Amen sisters and brothers,
give us your sesame legs,
your satchels, your skies.
Freedom will feel good
to you too. Please acknowledge
our higher purpose. No, we did not see
your bed of parsley. On St. Patrick's Day
2003, President Bush wore a blue tie. Blinking hard,
he said, "We are not dealing with peaceful men."
He said, "reckless aggression."
He said, "the danger is clear."
Your patio was not visible in his frame.
Your comforter stuffed with wool
from a sheep you knew. He said, "We are
against the lawless men who
rule your country, not you." Tell that
to the mother, she sister, the bride,
the proud boy, the peanut-seller,
the librarian careful with her shelves.
The teacher, the spinner, the sweeper,
the invisible village, the thousands of people
with laundry and bread, the ants tunneling
through the dirt.

©Naomi Shihab Nye

Dictionary in the Dark

A retired general said
"the beautiful thing about it"
discussing war.

We were making "progress"
in our war effort.
"The appropriate time to launch the bombers"
pierced the A section with artillery as
"awe" huddled in a corner
clutching its small chest.
Someone else repeated, "in harms's way,"
strangely popular lately,
and "weapons of mass destruction"
felt gravely confused about their identity.
"Friendly"gasped. Fierce and terminal.
It had never agreed to sit beside fire, never

©Naomi Shihab Nye
You and Yours 2005

Naomi Shihab Nye is San Antonio's most celebrated poetess. She was selected by Texas Monthly Magazine as one of the "20 most impressive, intriguing and influential Texans" for 1998. Recently, her poetry has attracted the attention of Bill Moyers, whose PBS segment on living American poets featured Nye reading some of her poems. In 2002 Moyers interviewed her on his PBS program NOW and had her read his favorite poem of hers, "The Art of Disappearing."


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*Georges Seurat,
A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grande Jatte


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been a big fan of Naomi's work. What a joy to see it on this blog.

12:54 PM  

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