Sunday, August 10, 2014

Famous for....?

Finding a poem used to involve a bit of leg work. I can remember going to the library, armed with a poem's title. I'd look it up in the Granger's Index, which would in turn direct me toward an anthology or a magazine. With luck, the library would have one of those in its collection, and I could finally find and enjoy the poem.

It is so much easier today. A while ago, my nephew shared a snippet of a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye. All I had to do was turn on my computer and Google a few words, and voila! there was the entire poem, on the Poetry Foundation's website:
By Naomi Shihab Nye

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.  

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds  
watching him from the birdhouse.  

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.  

The idea you carry close to your bosom  
is famous to your bosom.  

The boot is famous to the earth,  
more famous than the dress shoe,  
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it  
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.  

I want to be famous to shuffling men  
who smile while crossing streets,  
sticky children in grocery lines,  
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,  
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,  
but because it never forgot what it could do.  
This poem (along with my habit of scanning the obituary page) leads me to wonder what I will be remembered for. I hesitate to use the word "famous," since I am pretty sure that term will never apply to my life. But I hope my friends and family will remember me, not only as one who quietly observed from the sidelines, but also as one who was kind, and who looked for the best in others, and who smiled easily.

Speaking of famous... Highlights, in the August issue of their High Five magazine, had an article about stuffed animals enjoying a pretend campfire with pretend s'mores. Annie lent her elephant (that I had knit) for a photo, so now it is famous!

No comments:

Post a Comment