Poem of the Week: “My Wisdom” by Naomi Shihab Nye

My Wisdom

When people have a lot
they want more

When people have nothing
they will happily share it


Some people say
never getting your way
builds character
By now our character must be
deep and wide as a continent
Africa, Australia
giant cascade of stars
spilling over our huge night


Where did the power go?
Did it enjoy its break?
Is power exhausted?
What is real power?
Who really has power?
Did the generator break?
Do we imagine silence
more powerful because
it might contain everything?
Quiet always lives
inside noise.
But does it get much done?


Silence waits
for truth to break it


Calendars can weep too
They want us to have better days


Welcome to every minute
Feel lucky you’re still in it


No bird builds a wall


Sky purse


Won’t give up
our hopes
                for anything!


Not your fault
You didn’t make the world


How dare this go on and on?
cried the person who believed in praying
God willing      God willing      God willing
There were others who prayed
      to ruins & stumps


Open palms
      hold more


Refuse to give
          too much power

Annoying person?
Person who told me to stay home
and do what other girls do?
If you disappeared
I still might miss you


Babies want to help us
They laugh
for no reason


Pay close attention to
a drop of water
on the kitchen table


You cannot say one word about religion
and exclude Ahmad

Naomi  Shihab Nye, “My Wisdom” from The Tiny Journalist.  Copyright © 2019 by Naomi  Shihab Nye.

Published by cpoetrymsu

The Center for Poetry opened in the fall of 2007 to encourage the reading, writing, and discussion of poetry and to create an awareness of the place and power of poetry in our everyday lives. We think about this in a number of ways, including through readings, shows, community outreach, and workshops. We are at work building a poetry community at MSU and in the greater Lansing area. Contact: cpoetry@msu.edu (517) 884-1932 http://www.poetry.rcah.msu.edu

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