Friday, July 20, 2007

Poetry Friday -- Fame

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.

For what do you hope to be famous? Compare your answer to the poet's.

The Poetry Friday roundup is at Mentor Texts this week.


  1. Anonymous9:22 AM

    This is one of my top-five most favorite poems in the whole UNIVERSE.

    Thanks. I always enjoy reading it.

  2. Anonymous10:28 AM

    I love that one. Thanks for reminding me of it.

  3. Mary Lee,

    Naomi Shihab Nye is one of my favorite poets. Thanks for this post.

  4. I first read this in Paul Janeczko's lovely anthology "The Place My Words Are Looking For: What Poets Say About and Through Their Work." But it still felt completely fresh as I read it this time. I love it. Thank you.

  5. Anonymous8:34 PM

    Okay, poetically-challenged here. First time I read this poem, but it was a doozy. Thanks


  6. Anonymous10:40 AM

    I love this and am thinking that the mother is famous to her children. Really, that's how my kids are making me feel this summer.


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