Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Poem: "The Art of Disappearing" by Naomi Shihab Nye

Tonight I was working out and had downloaded "The Writer's Almanac podcast" from NPR . I heard this poem read to me. And I immediately wanted to email it to someone who I used to talk with. But it's probably not a good idea, so I'm blogging it. I would like to say it reminded me of her and I think she'd relate to it. Probably all of us could relate at some time. So since I can't share it with her I share it with you.

Here's the NPR website where you can listen to it being read aloud.
Poem: "The Art of Disappearing" by Naomi Shihab Nye from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems. © The Eighth Mountain Press. (buy now)

The Art of Disappearing

When they say Don't I know you?
say no.

When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
before answering.
Someone telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.

If they say We should get together
say why?

It's not that you don't love them anymore.
You're trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven't seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don't start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.

I love that last part. At first glance I thought this poem was about someone who is anti-social. But it isn't. Instead the poem seems to me, to end with a message which is "this is how I am intentional".

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