19 December 2012

Gift poems

Posted for Ella's "Wonder Wednesday #14 Regifting" at Poets United.  Ella is talented at getting us to identify pieces of our lives we can put out there for others to see.  She is such an artist!  Come to think of it, this is what all of the poets and challengers at Poets United seem to do.  I keep returning here for inspiration from prompts and poets.  Your poems are the gems of my days.  
     The two poems below have been longer-time companions, gifts that I keep in a file called "Poems I Cannot Live Without."  They feel personal.  I wish I had written them.  They nestle up against Gerard Manley Hopkins and Walt Whitman, and dear Emily and others.  If they are new to you, I hope you like them.


Famous   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.


"III" of “21 Love Poems”  by Adrienne Rich

Since we’re not young, weeks have to do time
for years of missing each other. Yet only this odd warp
in time tells me we’re not young.
Did I ever walk the morning streets at twenty,
my limbs streaming with a purer joy?
did I lean from any window over the city
listening for the future
as I listen here with nerves tuned for your ring?
And you, you move toward me with the same tempo.
Your eyes are everlasting, the green spark
of the blue-eyed grass of early summer,
the green-blue wild cress washed by the spring.
At twenty, yes: we thought we’d live forever.
At forty-five, I want to know even our limits.
I touch you knowing we weren’t born tomorrow,
and somehow, each of us will help the other live,
and somewhere, each of us must help the other die.



aelfbee said...

"because it never forgot what it could do"
A keeper for sure. Thanks.

Unknown said...

Adrienne Rich... Yes! Thanks for the share, Susan!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Susan, these are both treasures which I had not come upon before. Thank you so much for such rich reading. Lovely!

Mary said...

I really LOVE Naomi Shihab Nye and am very familiar with that wonderful poem you shared here, Susan!

Kerry O'Connor said...

Both gorgeous poems. Adrienne Rich has such a way of cutting through the bs and delivering life as we know it in a way to cut the heart.

Ella said...

I love these and was not familiar with either~
Their is so much richness in the first one and a lift of seeing things differently! :D
"Your eyes are everlasting, the green spark
of the blue-eyed grass of early summer"
I love the wonder in these poems!

Thank you Susan so much~ What a joy these both are :D
Thank you for your kind comments and for bringing these to light~

Brian Miller said...

famous the way a pulley is famous....very cool poem....and def like rich's as well....both of these are def worthy of keeping around like a favorite blanket....

Laura said...

wonderful... thank you!

Goneahead said...

I had read Famous once and somehow lost it, so thank you so much for reposting it! And of course, A. Rich is always awesome :D