Naomi Shihab Nye

(12 March 1952 / St. Louis, Missouri)

Two Countries


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,
swept away by someone who never saw
it was a feather. Skin ate, walked,
slept by itself, knew how to raise a
see-you-later hand. But skin felt
it was never seen, never known as
a land on the map, nose like a city,
hip like a city, gleaming dome of the mosque
and the hundred corridors of cinnamon and rope.

Skin had hope, that's what skin does.
Heals over the scarred place, makes a road.
Love means you breathe in two countries.
And skin remembers--silk, spiny grass,
deep in the pocket that is skin's secret own.
Even now, when skin is not alone,
it remembers being alone and thanks something larger
that there are travelers, that people go places
larger than themselves.

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

Do you like this poem?
9 person liked.
2 person did not like.

Form:


Read poems about / on: city, thanks, alone, people, hope, lost, remember, sleep

Read this poem in other languages

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Two Countries by Naomi Shihab Nye )

  • Rookie - 25 Points Kody Dibble (2/18/2015 2:02:00 PM)

    I really love this.

    This is like...the moon against the sun, or the rain against the lightening...

    this is like form and unform, all twisting and seething inside us all. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 25 Points Kody Dibble (2/18/2015 2:02:00 PM)

    I really love this.

    This is like...the moon against the sun, or the rain against the lightening...

    this is like form and unform, all twisting and seething inside us all. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 25 Points Kody Dibble (2/18/2015 2:01:00 PM)

    I really love this.

    This is like...the moon against the sun, or the rain against the lightening...

    this is like form and unform, all twisting and seething inside us all. (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 2,463 Points John Richter (2/18/2015 11:37:00 AM)

    Life changes so often - age can cause memories to become so foreign - that perhaps we view ourselves as vacant skin then - or now....Excellent write - but must be true to my own self by saying that the nonsense words do not appeal to me.... a hundred corridors of cinnamon and rope. I don't understand that reference at all and it so takes away from an otherwise beautifully written poem..... The passion for poetry is innate - but good poetry only comes from the honest critical eyes of others. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 25,464 Points Akhtar Jawad (2/18/2015 9:39:00 AM)

    A nice poem...................................... (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 2,322 Points Luis Estable (2/18/2015 5:44:00 AM)

    Here skin is a mind that feels, remembers and so forth. It is as if the skin is a separate part of the body with its own body, heart, mind.

    This poem is believable. One can buy what it sells. And yes, sometimes it seems that this is what skin does.

    The overall effect of this poem is one of a feeling felt when one reads a well-written poem

    Thanks!

    Luis A. Estable (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 1,523 Points Godfrey Morris (2/18/2015 4:59:00 AM)

    Beautiful poem of inspiration (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Anne Ferguson (9/28/2004 9:39:00 AM)

    A poem brimful of hope (Report) Reply

Read all 8 comments »

Famous Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  4. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. Caged Bird
    Maya Angelou
  8. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. A Dream Within A Dream
    Edgar Allan Poe
Trending Poets
Trending Poems
  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  5. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  6. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  7. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  8. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  9. A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
  10. Caged Bird, Maya Angelou
[Hata Bildir]