Thursday, February 15, 2024

A Gathering of Poetry: February 2024

It's the third Thursday of the month so I'd like to welcome you to A Gathering of Poetry. I came across an excerpt of this poem in an audiobook I was listening to (A Quiet Life in 7 Steps by Susan Cain) and immediately looked up the whole poem. I'm often amazed at how well poets and poetry can express what I'm thinking and feeling, and this one was a perfect example. 

The Art of Disappearing
by Naomi Shihab Nye

When they say Don’t I know you?
say no.

When they invite you to the party
remember what parties are like
before answering.
Someone is telling you in a loud voice
they once wrote a poem.
Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.
Then reply.

If they say We should get together
say why?

It’s not that you don’t love them anymore.
You’re trying to remember something
too important to forget.
Trees. The monastery bell at twilight.
Tell them you have a new project.
It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store
nod briefly and become a cabbage.
When someone you haven’t seen in ten years
appears at the door,
don’t start singing him all your new songs.
You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.
Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.


Nye, Naomi Shihab. "The Art of Disappearing". Words Under the Words, Far Corner Books, 1995. 

You can read more about the poet here


Thanks for reading and joining us for our monthly Gathering of Poetry. You are more than welcome to add your link below if you would like to share one of your favorite poems. The more the merrier!

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  1. Oh my! I love this poem, Bonny! (and I think that Naomi Shihab Nye is such an incredible poet!) And I love "say why" ... so much.

  2. I love these lines the best: "Walk around feeling like a leaf. Know you could tumble any second." That's a great way to think!

  3. I . . . have often "become a cabbage" at the grocery store. I think I need to become more adept at heeding the poet's advice before agreeing to parties, though. ;-) What a great poem, Bonny!

  4. This one is just so, so great Bonny! I love the cabbage line and also the leaf idea at the end. Now I'm thinking about my upcoming trip to NC (in April) to visit Leslie - that will be great. My friend Nina, whom I have not seen in 25+ years will drive up from SC to spend a day and night...wondering how that will go...LOL

  5. Mixed feelings on this one, but the last lines say it all. DECIDE.

  6. Who ever wrote that lives inside my head.

    1. I'm a big fan of the "nod briefly and become a cabbage" line.

  7. I could easily become a cabbage :) I like the poem and I love how they write about the what to spend your time on.

  8. Oh my word, Bonny. I think this is a poem I could think about for months. It speaks to me in a way that is hard to describe, perhaps because I am an introvert. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  9. Naomi Shihab Nye is one of my favorite poets. I feel the same way about parties. Finally, I've learned it's ok to politely decline to attend.

  10. Love the cabbage bit.. and I like the idea of being a leaf.. so free.


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