R. W. Scott "Birds in Flight" (Flamingos)
This post is especially for a ShAheen of Iqbal - high soaring bird...here is a little sampler of how even English, not as musical as Urdu, can give us light and flight with the right person shaping the word pictures...
The other late afternoon (my favorite time of the day) I noticed extra special light coming into the windows...but I was unable to describe the light to my daughter -only how the light affected the nearly translucent curtains which framed it. The light put all kinds of colors into the creases...along with earthy tones, pewter blues, fullmoon sea green and just a flicker of sunset tangerine.
There were other colors too in that timeless moment between wake and sleep...colors of too much bad news, colors of enough words without dance, colors of let's pretend there's no more war, colors to let fade away...
Simple props like windows, curtains and light make for the most unlimited dreams.
Just last night I ran across one of my favorite writers - Naomi Shihab Nye and the following sampler of her stories - Nye wrote: "Years ago a girl handed me a note as I was leaving her proud town of Albany, Texas, a tiny, lovely place far in the west of our big state."I'm glad to know there is another poemist in the world," the note said. "I always knew we would find one another someday and our lights would cross." Maybe someday pretty soon, I'll be able to wander once again into these corridors of light, corridors of soaring language and words of painterly beauty and light, teach me - new writers. I KNOW given your passion, heroes, heroines, teachers and determination - I will learn from you...
May our lights cross like falcons of beauty and truth in the skies above the seas between us...
Naomi Shihab Nye speaks a truth that wraps all around me.
From an interview with Bill Moyers
NAOMI SHIHAB NYE: "If you place a fern under a stone, the next day it will be nearly invisible as if the stone has swallowed it. If you tuck the name of a loved one under your tongue too long, without speaking it it becomes blood, sigh, the little sucked in breath of air hiding everywhere beneath your words. No one sees the fuel that feeds you."
BILL MOYERS: "The fuel that feeds you." What is it?
NAOMI SHIHAB NYE: I think for many of us it's language in the sense that language can carry us to understanding, and connect us to things that matter in our lives. For those of us who trust poetry and the power of linkage that poetry gives us. It's a way of--sitting quietly with words and--letting us--them lead us somewhere.
BILL MOYERS: So "the fuel that feeds you" is the power of words?
NAOMI SHIHAB NYE: I think so. Those power of words, and a faith in the power of words. That words can give you something back if you trust them, and if you know that you're not trying to proclaim things all the time, but you're trying to discover things.
A little girl said to me, last year, "Poetry has been eating all my problems." And I said, "What do you mean by that?" And she said, "It just makes me feel better when I read it, or when I write it." And I think that's been true for many people in this country.
Let's let poetry eat all our problems. It's a strategy born out of hope. It can only succeed when we move past proclamation to discovery, curiosity, newness, metaphor. We must run into clear panes of glass more often in order to really see.
If the days are nouns, let's touch them. And perhaps, then, life really is a verb.
To Naomi Shihab Nye, my thanks for sitting quietly with words that resonate far beyond her life, right into the center of mine.
(I found that excerpt just above from that famous interview by Patti in 'Women Sit Quiet With Words' - Patti's beginning and ending lines.)
SAVE this until you find one long rainy day to really enjoy this following video to the fullest...it's here especially for Akhtar Wasim Dar Sahib - this is a JEWEL of a talk. (Even with the funny photography that hides her animated face) Nye was just in January elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets for 2010. Besides other functions she serves most perfectly as an "ambassador of poetry in the world at large."
Naomi Shihab Nye speaks in Boston (notice how she's really a teacher at heart?
LECTURE on Language, Art and the Humanities
Nye has a long-awaited new book (another of her many anthologies) coming out in just a few weeks:
And now, let's end with comments about a fairly recent book of Nye's poems: "Color Me Amazed" By Bart King (Portland, Oregon) and I noticed there were more surprised words of praise from males and joy from older women than from young girls...
This book by the sublime Naomi Shihab Nye is subtitled "Poems for Girls," but I don't think that this charming book should be restricted to one gender. I certainly chuckled, oohed, and aahed a number of times as I read through it. (Still, it WOULD make a great gift for the young girl in your life.)
Shihab Nye has a generosity of spirit that shines through her poetry like a twinkle in a kindly aunt's eye. Here is a little somethin'-somethin' to whet your appetite (excerpted from "Ringing"):
"Now, when I hear an ice-cream truck chiming its bells, I fly
Even if I'm not hungry -- just to watch it pass.
Mailmen with their chime of dogs barking
up and down the street are magic too.
They are all bringers.
I want to be a bringer.
I want to drive a truck full of eggplants down the smallest street. I want to be someone making music with my coming."
OR perhaps when...the windows of the house are still open. One by one, in quiet corners, we will turn on a small light, read a poem, and feel our own soft wings spreading out... The Prisank mountain window