Friday, July 14, 2006

Because of Libraries We Can Say These Things

From Fuel (BOA Editions, Ltd., 1998) by Naomi Shehab Nye

She is holding the book close to her body,
carrying it home on the cracked sidewalk,
down the tangled hill.
If a dog runs at her again,
she will use the book as a shield.

She looked hard among the long lines
of books to find this one.
When they start talking about money,
when the day contains such long and hot places,
she will go inside.
An orange bed is waiting.
Story without corners.
She will have two families.
They will eat at different hours.

She is carrying a book past the fire station
and the five-and-dime.
What this town has not given her
the book will provide; a sheep,
a wilderness of new solutions.
The book has already lived through its troubles.
The book has a calm cover, a straight spine.

When the step returns to itself
as the best place for sitting,
and the old men up and down the street
are latching their clippers,

She will not be alone.
She will have a book to open
and open and open.
Her life starts here.

I read this yesterday in the May/June issue of “Knowledge Quest”, the Journal of the American Association of School
Librarians. I love Ms. Nye’s poetry and other writings.


Veronica Mitchell said...

Beautiful. It is so rare to see someone portray hiding in a book as a good thing, and sometimes it really is. What solace.

jasai said...

This was wonderful. My life in a poem.