Thursday, June 2, 2011

Naomi Shihab Nye: At First Light

  "This morning the newspaper
was too terrible to deliver
so the newsboy just pitched
a little sheaf
of Kleenex"
Naomi Shihab Nye
Naomi Shihab Nye's evocative poems below capture exactly what it is like when I get up in darkness each day.

In all her poetry and prose Naomi Shihab Nye writes clearly and beautifully of the daily realities of life and the sad state of the world in which we live. Her work has featured on the blog before.

Words When We Need Them
By Naomi Shihab Nye

Before this early moment,
another, ripe with rain,
the scent of its own full shape.

Each day the rooster
we have never seen
raises the first greeting
and darkness which holds us
in its loose pocket all night
sets us down.

Now we walk,
waking up rooms,
switching on lights.

Into the breath,
wordless but ripe
with all possible words,
messages not yet gathered
or sent.

Morning looms,
more friend than
the best friend.
We could still say.

Breaking the Fast
By Naomi Shihab Nye

Japanese teacher says:
At first light, rise.
Don’t hover between
sleep and waking,
this makes you heavy,
puts a stone inside your heart.

The minute you drift back to shore,
anchor. Breathe.
Remember your deepest name.

Sometimes objects stun me,
bamboo strainer, gray mug,
sitting exactly where
they were left.

They have not slept
or dreamt of lost faces.

I touch them carefully,
saying, tell me what you know.

Cup of waves,
strawberry balanced
in a seashell.

In morning the water seems
clear to the bottom.

No fish blocks my view.

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