Sunday, February 8, 2009

Because V-Day is Around the Corner
Valentine for Ernest Mann

You can't order a poem like you order a
Walk up to the counter, say, "I'll take two"
and expect it to be handed back to you
on a shiny plate.

Still, I like your spirit.
Anyone who says, "Here's my address.
Write me a poem," deserves something
in reply.
So I'll tell you a secret instead:
Poems hide.
In the bottom of our shoes,
They are sleeping. They are the shadows
drifting across our ceilings the moment
before we wake up. What we have to do is live
in a way that lets us find them.

Once I knew a man who gave his wife
two skunks for a valentine.
He couldn't understand why she was
"I thought they had beautiful eyes."
And he was serious. He was serious
who lived in a serious way. Nothing was
Just because the world said so. He really
liked those skunks. So, he re-invented
as valentines and they became beautiful.
At least, to him. And the poems that had
been hiding
in the eyes of skunks for centuries
crawled out and curled up at his feet.
Maybe if we reinvent whatever our
lives give us
we find poems. Check your garage, the
odd sock
in your drawer, the person you almost
like, but
not quite.

And let me know.

Naomi Shihab Nye

No comments: