Naomi Shihab Nye
a poet, songwriter, and novelist. She was born to a Palestinian father and American mother. Although she regards herself as a "wandering poet", she refers to San Antonio as her home.
Her first collection of poems, Different Ways to Pray, explored the theme of similarities and differences between cultures, which would become one of her lifelong areas of focus. Her other books include poetry collections 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East, A Maze Me, Red Suitcase, Field Trip and Fuel; a collection of essays entitled Never in a Hurry; a young-adult novel called Habibi (the semi-autobiographical story of an Arab-American teenager who moves to ... more »
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Naomi Shihab Nye Poems
Making A Fist
For the first time, on the road north of Tampico, I felt the life sliding out of me, a drum in the desert, harder and harder to hear. I was seven, I lay in the car
"A true Arab knows how to catch a fly in his hands," my father would say. And he'd prove it, cupping the buzzer instantly while the host with the swatter stared.
Skin remembers how long the years grow when skin is not touched, a gray tunnel of singleness, feather lost from the tail of a bird, swirling onto a step,
If you place a fern under a stone the next day it will be nearly invisible
A man leaves the world and the streets he lived on grow a little shorter.
You can't be, says a Palestinian Christian on the first feast day after Ramadan. So, half-and-half and half-and-half. He sells glass. He knows about broken bits,
Sewing, Knitting, Crocheting...
A small striped sleeve in her lap, navy and white, needles carefully whipping in yarn from two sides.
So Much Happiness
It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness. With sadness there is something to rub against, a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
The Art of Disappearing
When they say Don't I know you? say no.
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.
A man crosses the street in rain, stepping gently, looking two times north and south, because his son is asleep on his shoulder.
Hugging the Jukebox
On an island the soft hue of memory, moss green, kerosene yellow, drifting, mingling in the Caribbean Sea, a six-year-old named Alfred
Different Ways to Pray
There was the method of kneeling, a fine method, if you lived in a country where stones were smooth.
Some nights the rat with pointed teeth makes his long way back to the bowl of peaches.
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
Making A Fist
We forget that we are all dead men conversing wtih dead men.
—Jorge Luis Borges
For the first time, on the road north of Tampico,
I felt the life sliding out of me,
a drum in the desert, harder and harder to hear.
I was seven, I lay in the car
watching palm trees swirl a sickening pattern past the glass.
My stomach was a melon split wide inside my skin.
'How do you know if you are going to die?'
I begged my mother.
We had been traveling for days.
With strange confidence she ...