Let’s Buy More Poetry

29th March 2007

The Art of Disappearing
by Naomi Shihab Nye from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems

When they say Don’t I know you? say no.
When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
before answering.
Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.
If they say we should get together.
say why? It’s not that you don’t love them any more.
You’re trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees.
The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished. When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven’t seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don’t start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.
Walk around feeling like a leaf. Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.

(Thanks, Writer’s Almanac.)

13 thoughts on “Let’s Buy More Poetry

  1. Megan

    More poetry? Please start with Kay Ryan. Her poems are smart, funny and accessible and…great. Just great.

    It’s Always Darkest Just Before the Dawn

    But how dark
    is darkest?
    Does it get
    jet – or tar –
    black; does it
    glint and increase
    in hardness
    or turn viscous?
    Are there stages of darkness
    and chips
    to match against
    its increments,
    holding them
    up to our blindness,
    estimating when
    we’ll have the
    night behind us?

  2. sonnetj

    She might be my favorite poet. I’ve gotten to meet her and hear her read several times. Her poems feel like something sprouting inside. So simple, so beautiful.

  3. Lee

    i read this on WA this morning, and wanted to spend more time with it than the crazy day allowed…thanks for giving me a second shot!

  4. J. Bo

    I’ve been forwarding this morning’s Writer’s Almanac e-mail to EVERYONE today! So cool that you posted the wonderful poem…

  5. The Angry Medic

    Well, I’ve got a cabbage in my skull right where my brain used to reside, thanks to medical school. Does that count? :)

    Naomi Shihab Nye sounds like a great poet though. Now I have to go dig up some Jane Kenyon too for comparison. Thanks for giving me more stuff to procrastinate with :P

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