Welcome to Poetry Friday and my little corner of the world! This is my first time hosting, and I appreciate you stopping by to share your bit of poetry with all of us.
My last Donor's Choose project was a collection of poetry books. Some were old, some were new, but all revolved around the teenage years. Today I share with you some thoughts and words from from Naomi Shihab Nye in her book, A Maze Me.
In the introduction to this book, Naomi shares her worry about becoming a teenager and wanting to hang on to childhood just a little bit longer. In one part she talks about not remembering "the name of a single junior high school teacher." Yet she could name every elementary teacher and most of her high school teachers. She asks, "What happened in between?"
Naomi says when she turned seventeen, "I started feeling as if my soul fit my age again, or my body had grown to fit my brain. When she was in college, she met Nellie Lucas, an eccentric women, who taught Naomi to "slow down and to pay better attention to everything" and to have faith about "growing up."
One of the best pieces of advice I found for want-to-be writers is, "If you write three lines down in a notebook every day (they don't have to be important, they don't have to relate to one another, you don't have to show them to anyone)...you will find out what you notice. Uncanny connections will be made visible to you. That's what I started learning when I was twelve, and I never stopped learning it."
She compares growing up as "Every year unfolds like a petal inside all the years that preceded it. You will feel your thinking springing up and layering inside your huge mind a little differently. Your thinking will befriend you. Words will befriend you. You will be given more than you could ever dream."
What follows these wise words, is a collection of 72 poems. Below is my favorite.
~Naomi Shihab Nye
When our English teacher gave
our first writing assignment of the year,
become a kitchen implement
in 2 descriptive paragraphs, I did not think
butcher knife or frying pan,
I thought immediately
of soft flour showering through the little holes
of the sifter and the sifter's pleasing circular
swishing sound, and wrote it down.
Rhoda became a teaspoon,
Roberto a funnel,
Jim a muffin tin
and Forrest a soup pot.
We read our paragraphs out loud.
Abby was a blender. Everyone laughed
and acted giddy but the more we thought about it,
we were all everything in the whole kitchen,
drawers and drainers,
singing teapot and and grapefruit spoon
with serrated edges, we were all the
empty cup, the tray.
This, said our teacher, is the beauty of metaphor.
It opens doors.
What I could not know then was how being a sifter
would help me all year long.
When bad days came
I would close my eyes and feel them passing
through the tiny holes.
When good days came
I would try to contain them gently
the way flour remains
in the sifter until you turn the handle.
Time, time. I was a sweet sifter in time
and no one ever knew.
Shihab Nye, Naomi. "A Maze Me: Poems for Girls." Harper Collins Publishers: New York, NY. 2005.
May we all become sifters.
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