Tuesday, May 24, 2016


by Naomi Shihab Nye  b. 1952

The river is famous to the fish. 

The loud voice is famous to silence,   
which knew it would inherit the earth   
before anybody said so.   

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds   
watching him from the birdhouse.   

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.   

The idea you carry close to your bosom   
is famous to your bosom.   

The boot is famous to the earth,   
more famous than the dress shoe,   
which is famous only to floors. 

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it   
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.   

I want to be famous to shuffling men   
who smile while crossing streets,   
sticky children in grocery lines,   
famous as the one who smiled back. 

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,   
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,   
but because it never forgot what it could do.

See also http://shenandoahliterary.org/blog/2014/10/famous-by-naomi-shihab-nye/

Friday, May 20, 2016


by William Stafford

There's a thread you follow.  It goes among 
things that change.  But it doesn't change.  
People wonder about what you are pursuing. 
You have to explain about the thread.  
But it is hard for others to see.  
While you hold it you can't get lost.  
Tragedies happen; people get hurt or die; 
and you suffer and get old.  
Nothing you do can stop time's unfolding.  
You don't ever let go of the thread.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


by Vaclav Havel

Once I begin, once I try
here and now,
right where I am,
not excusing myself
by saying that things
would be easier elsewhere,
without grand speeches and
ostentatious gestures,
but all the more persistently
-to live in harmony
with the "voice of Beings"' as I
understand it within myself
-as soon as I begin that,
I suddenly discover,
to my surprise, that
I am neither the only one,
nor the first,
nor the most important one
to have set out
upon that road.   ...
Whether all is really lost
or not depends entirely on
whether or not I am lost.  ...