Tuesday, January 06, 2009

a poem I like very much

Is it legal for me to do this? As long as I attribute it accurately? I assume so, but someone, please correct me if I'm wrong.

And may you all find the poems in your odd sock drawer in the new year.

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 re-invented them
as valentines and they became beautiful.
At least, to him. And the poems that had been hiding
in the eyes of skunks for centuries
crawled out and curled up at his feet.

Maybe if we re-invent 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


Anonymous said...

Lovely poem. And there is a whole Poetry Friday thing that goes on so there must be a legal way to reprint poems on blogs... (Becky at Farm School participates regularly)

Anonymous said...

Great Poem!! I am sure I can find a few down behind my headboard.

Anonymous said...

I like that very much too. . . . especially the skunks with the poems in their eyes.

I believe that if you quote something with attribution for noncommercial purposes, that's considered fair use.

KCB said...

Very nice. I'll go check my sock drawer soon!