Saturday, May 12, 2012

The poetry of Naomi Shihab Nye and the "bigger picture"

The poetry of Naomi Shihab Nye appears regularly on this blog (previous posts are here).  

Naomi Shihab Nye  is a Arab- American poet who writes profound poetry about daily life and daily experience from the perspective of an Arab-American women who has lived in the US, in Ramallah in Jordan, in the Old City in Jerusalem, and in San Antonio, Texas. Born to a Palestinian father and an American  mother, Shihab Nye writes poetry that springs from an Arab heart living in America.

These poems are from Foreign Policy in Focus.
Smaller than a Mouse
Naomi Shihab Nye

We demonstrated on a steaming day
carrying signs
Five hundred thousand people
in the streets of New York
saying no to war
crowds gathering for blocks and miles
crush and press of all the world's religions
and secular codes.

and the next day our story,
the story of saying no to war,
was written up in a three sentence news item
on the back of the front section of the NEW YORK TIMES
smaller than the story of a sad mouse found in a
chain restaurant soup.
This is the truth

The News
Naomi Shihab Nye

How I miss my dad when Karen Hughes or Condoleeza Rice
come on the screen – his favorites – the great experts on foreign
policy – he mocked their platitudes.  I miss his sorrowful gaze
to the side at commercials, especially after scenes of places he knew,
terraced orchards, stone villages, and knew the world didn't want to know.

His letters keep unscrolling in my mind.
Dear Militant, I know you were more likely
a heartbroken boy who lost a brother or father
and struggled all your poor life to get a grip,
but they called you a militant
the minute they killed you
so they could get away with it.
Just want you to know – I know –
and I'm sorry for your suffering.

Dear Soldier with a Tank and Many Guns,
You look more like a militant to me – actually.
They say you're working for security when
you terrify women and wreck houses
and treat my people so rudely –
you like to feel secure while doing it.
Just want you to know – I know –
And from the side of things I'm on right now –
the disembodied side, the bigger picture side,
it looks stranger
than ever.    


1 comment:

Andre Ewert said...

What a lovely website, far removed from thec tyrannies of the marketplace.

Andre in Montreal