Monday, February 09, 2009

Shoulders - Naomi Shihab Nye

A man crosses the street in rain,
stepping gently, looking two times north and south:
because his son is asleep on his shoulder.

No car must splash him.
No car drive too near to his shadow.

This man carries the world's most sensitive cargo
but he's not marked.
Nowhere does his jacket say FRAGILE,

His ear fills up with breathing.
He hears the hum of a boy's dream
deep inside him.

We're not going to be able
to live in this world
if we're not willing to do what he's doing
with one another.

The road will only ever be wide.
The rain will never stop falling.


Anonymous said...
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Maree said...

Yes, you win the title: Well Read Poetry Aficionado. :^D

red clay said...

Travel Alarm

Naomi Shihab Nye

Because everything still bears
the sweet iron taste of experiment,
a penny pressed to the tongue,
the boy places his mother's
little clock in the broiler.
Way back, down deep,
so she won't see when
she bakes the muffins.
Once she says, What's that smell
in here? Like truck tires
at a car lot?and he grins,
by now having forgotten,
but liking strange odors
that rise in the midst of any day,
strange bells, even the maniac
who kept roaring around their block
till his mother called the police.
Each morning he begs his parents
not to read the newspaper, knowing
how their faces go half-blank
and mad, their hands turn
and turn never finding
the right page.
But the secret woman keeps pitching
the rolled paper into their yard,
the woman called Willie or Freddie,
whom he caught a glimpse of once,
pulling away in her long arrow
of a car.

Later he asks, Is it still morning?
If it's noon, why is it so dark?
Some evening when his mother pulls
the broiler wide to find
her melted ring of hours,
now crisp as a wedding collar,
and the two frozen hands,
he'11 feel far away,
as if he didn't do anything
leading up to it.
But when she likes the hard new shine
glossing the puckered 3 and
sunken 8, when she says
Now we can never be late
and laughs, and laughs,
the sound of a storm coming
that lifts all the air in its path,
when she hands it back to him
and he winds the little key -
to hear it ring! Still!?
the wild buzz that woke her up
in a hundred different towns?
he'll feel how morning and evening
run together, how bad and good can melt
into something entirely else.
They'll tell his father
when he steps from the darkroom
blinking, they'll say
We have a surprise for you,
and hold it up. It will take him
a long moment even to know
what it was.
Standing together
on the edge of dinnertime
and night, the table half-set
but nothing missing,
no one wishing for any
impossible season,
when I was smaller,
when you'll be older
even the, trees outside
that should be thinking autumn now
still lit by an endless minute
of green.