We were discussing President Lincoln’s jokes in my classroom today, and my kids were just delighted by Lincoln’s turn of phrase. Our talk soon turned to bits of funny lines overheard and the way some people have the gift of turning a phrase – of saying something so perfectly that it makes one pay attention. That led to my remembering Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem, “One Boy Told Me” – which we will read tomorrow just for the sheer delight of it. Here is Nye reading the poem at the Dodge Festival:
Nye writes “grown up” poetry, too…this one captures both movement and utter stillness so beautifully:
By Naomi Shihab Nye
I watch how other things travel
to get an idea how I might move.
A cloud sweeps by silently,
gathering other clouds.
A doodlebug curls in his effort to get there.
A horse snorts before stepping forward.
A caterpillar inches across the kitchen floor.
When I carry him outside on a leaf,
I imagine someone doing that to me.
Would I scream?
In the heart of the day
No one is going anywhere
or coming back.
The blue glass on the table
lets light pass through.
but nothing moves.
I watch that too.