Poetry Wednesday- February 17, 2010

17 Feb

I’ve never pined for fame. I was not the child who sang to the crowds in her bedroom or even liked to have Happy Birthday sung to her prior to blowing out the candles on the cake.

However, I have spent most of my adult life considering and reconsidering my expectations for my life – what I wanted to be, what I wanted to do, and how and why I never got there.  The dreams of arguing case law and teaching unruly pre-teens how to adore the meter of Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening passed, and that left me wondering who I was without being those things.

This poem has always helped put those concerns in a different light. It is who we are and who we are to others that matters in the end.

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.

.

.More poems HERE.  Go and link to your own!  I’d love to read what you love to read.

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4 Responses to “Poetry Wednesday- February 17, 2010”

  1. slpmartin February 17, 2010 at 9:03 am #

    Thanks for sharing the very lovely poem…it was a good way to start my day.

  2. Molly Sabourin February 17, 2010 at 10:46 am #

    Oh, Jennifer…this is just fabulous. Those last two paragraphs made my soul ache. I so needed this poem this morning. Bless you for sharing it with us!

  3. beth johnson February 17, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    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.

    Jennifer, thank you for this poem and for your thoughts. There are moments when I let myself linger over what I thought I was to do and be but thankfully I look back over my dreams of being a professor or teacher and am grateful that they did not materialize, that this journey God has brought me on is so much more wild and wonderful that I ever expected, and that for many of us, being ordinary and unnoticed by others is our higher calling.

  4. Emily Lorelli February 17, 2010 at 11:34 pm #

    “not because it did anything spectacular,
    but because it never forgot what it could do”

    YES! How often I forget even what I can do, or worse yet, refuse to do it. I spent my time in the classroom teaching unruly teenagers. The job I have now is much harder, but MUCH more rewarding and in doing it, as you know, we work out our salvation.

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