Friday, February 02, 2007

poetry

In honor of St. Brigid, a poem!


Valentine for Ernest Mann

You can't order a poem like you order a taco.
Walk up to the counter, say, "I'll take two"
and expect it to be handed back to you
on a shiny plate.

Still, I like your spirit.
Anyone who says, "Here's my address,
write me a poem," deserves something in reply.
So I'll tell you a secret instead:
poems hide. In the bottoms of our shoes,
they are sleeping. They are the shadows
drifting across our ceilings the moment
before we wake up. What we have to do
is live in a way that lets us find them.

Once I knew a man who gave his wife
two skunks for a valentine.
He couldn't understand why she was crying.
"I thought they had such beautiful eyes."
And he was serious. He was a serious man
who lived in a serious way. Nothing was ugly
just because the world said so. He really
liked those skunks. So, he reinvented them
as valentines and they became beautiful.
At least, to him. And the poems that had been hiding
in the eyes of the skunks for centuries
crawled out and curled up at his feet.

Maybe if we reinvent whatever our lives give us
we find poems. Check your garage, the odd sock
in your drawer, the person you almost like, but not quite.
And let me know.

- Naomi Shihab Nye

6 comments:

Chelsea said...

I just read that out loud to Michael, and got a little choked up at the end. Good choice.

Acornbud said...

Work still sucks, heh. I got a knife sharpener from my ex for a Valentine gift and I was disappointed at the time.
So far no poems
from the Valentine honer
but the knives are sharp.

Reya Mellicker said...

WOW!! Thank you. This is beautiful, perfect - and TRUE.

Stephanie said...

Lovely.

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