Poetry Friday: Jerusalem, Naomi Shihab Nye

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Poetry Friday is hosted by Linda Kulp @ WriteTime.

 

The news now is all about bombs flying over Israel and Gaza – and in photograph after photograph, we see it once again: the victims – frightened children and grieving families.  Of course, bombs and frightened children and grieving families are not new news to us anymore.  All that shifts is the location – some new part of our world in which people are tearing each other apart.   I think more people need to read Naomi Shihab Nye.

 

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Jerusalem

by Naomi Shihab Nye

        “Lets be the same wound if we must bleed.
Let
s fight side by side, even if the enemy
is ourselves: I am yours, you are mine.”

—Tommy Olofsson, Sweden

I’m not interested in
who suffered the most.
I’m interested in
people getting over it.
Once when my father was a boy
a stone hit him on the head.
Hair would never grow there.
Our fingers found the tender spot
and its riddle: the boy who has fallen
stands up. A bucket of pears
in his mother’s doorway welcomes him home.
The pears are not crying.
Later his friend who threw the stone
says he was aiming at a bird.
And my father starts growing wings.
Each carries a tender spot:
something our lives forgot to give us.
A man builds a house and says,
“I am native now.”
A woman speaks to a tree in place
of her son. And olives come.
A child’s poem says,
“I don’t like wars,
they end up with monuments.”
He’s painting a bird with wings
wide enough to cover two roofs at once.
(You can read the rest here.)
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8 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Jerusalem, Naomi Shihab Nye

  1. It’s so hard to understand the why & then the how it came to be, although I know the historical parts. This is heart-rending Tara. Do you know The Lemon Tree, by Sandy Tolan. I’ve read it with my students, beautiful story of hope. But it’s been out a long while, sad to say.

  2. It’s hard not to despair at the events unfolding in the middle east. Like Naomi Shihab Nye, I’m “interested in people getting over it.” Thank you for sharing this thought-provoking poem.

  3. Tara, thank you for sharing Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem that was profound and touching. I heard her speak at NYSEC and was impressed by your grace and poetic spirit. The line that resonated with me was “Each carries a tender spot: something our lives forgot to give us.”

  4. Very nice, Tara. “Hair would never grow there.
    Our fingers found the tender spot
    and its riddle: the boy who has fallen
    stands up.”
    That’s the key, isn’t it?

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