Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Poetic results of my adventures through the dust

I've been slowly cleaning my room, more extensively than I've ever cleaned before. I've got scary amounts of papers stacked up, from as far back as elementary school. I was going through a folder full of papers from 7th grade, and found a poem photocopied from a book, with a title--"Red Brocade"--but no author listed. I had to google it to find out who wrote it, but somehow I think this poem has been lurking in my brain since I first read it, though I have no memory of reading it, or any idea why we were reading it.
The Arabs used to say,
When a stranger appears at your door,
feed him for three days
before asking who he is,
where he’s come from,
where he’s headed.
That way, he’ll have strength
enough to answer.
Or, by then you’ll be such good friends
you don’t care.

Let’s go back to that.
Rice? Pine Nuts?
Here, take the red brocade pillow.
My child will serve water
to your horse.

No, I was not busy when you came!
I was not preparing to be busy.
That’s the armor everyone put on
to pretend they had a purpose
in the world.

I refuse to be claimed.
Your plate is waiting.
We will snip fresh mint
into your tea.

- Naomi Shihab Nye

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