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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Poetry Corner - Naomi Nye

As part of my Creative WRiting class, I had to attend several
poetry readings on campus. One of the readings was by Naomi
Nye. Apparently she is quite a famous poet. Bookshare even has
a bunch of her books.

It was a challenge for me to follow the poetry reading. My ASL
skills are not up to that level. We used my DBC. Instead of
signing, the interpreter types everything on a USB keyboard that
was plugged into my Braille Note. I could read everything in

The drawback to this system was that I could never read braille
fast enough to keep up with the poet. I was always behind or
skipping over parts to try to catch up.

I understood enough of the poetry to be intrigued by it.
Naomi Nye is an American-Palestine writer. Much of her work is
focused on Arab culture and the fight for peace in the Middle
East. I liked the idea of educating through poetry. I really
don't know anything about Arab life. I found myself wanting to
learn more. So I downloaded one of Nye's books.

It is true that Nye's work centers on Arab lifestyle and issues.
I guess you could call it Arab poetry. But I discovered
something as I read the book. I find myself in these poems. I
saw my own life, my culture, my family, and my hopes and dreams.
Maybe this is Arab poetry. But it's also human poetry. It's
about all of us.

I would like to share my three favorite poems from this book.
Such beautiful writing needs to be spread for the whole world to
enjoy. I hope they speak to you, as they did to me.

from The Flag of Childhood

by Naomi Shihab Nye

The Train of the Stars

The night is a train that passes, Up on my house I watch it Its
eyes smile to me.

The night is a train that passes, Carrying moons and stars
Clouds, flowers, Seas and rivers that run. The night is a train
that passes.

The night is a train that passes, I wish, oh, how I wish! I could
take it one day: It would take me away, To see where it's going.
Oh, where's that train going?

Abdul-Raheem Saleh al-Raheem

Translated by Adil Saleh Abid

The Strange Tale

We laughed at the past. Tomorrow the future will be laughing at
us. This is the world, a tale spun by some great magician. The
living perform the marvelous play as if they were already dead.
The stage is sad with its curtain of mist. And beyond the
curtain, the audience of the future watches us, laughing. They
don't see how the script is falling into their own hands.

Abu-L-Qasim al-Shabbi

Translated by Lena Jayyusi and Naomi Shihab Nye

"Pick a Sky and Name It"


The night has come, Pink's job is done. She was the dawn, and
the pink sun. But now blue's time has come. He'll be the moon,
He'll be the sky. Pink sits and waits for sunrise, Then she'll
be the sun again, She'll be the sky. But sunrise won't last
long. When yellow comes And spreads her color to the sun. Pink
sits and waits. Pink sits and waits.

Zeynep Beler

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