poetry+friday+button-e1341309970195In the midst of these troubling times, I turn again to poetry for solace and for hope. I’m sharing the end of the poem Famous by Naomi Shihab Nye. (To read the complete poem, please click on the title.)

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.
Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem reminds me that making a difference doesn’t have to involve doing spectacular things. Each day brims with the potential to create positive interactions and connections if I focus on what I can do or change instead of being overwhelmed by what I can’t. There is comfort in that.
For more poetry, go to Margaret Simon’s wonderful blog, Reflections on the Teche.

24 thoughts on “Famous

  1. Melanie Roy says:

    Once again, you hit the nail on the head, Molly. Just yesterday my four-year-old asked, “Why didn’t that man give me a smile face back?” I replied, “What was his face like?” He said, “A grumpy face.” I said, “Maybe he didn’t see you. Maybe he was tired and had a lot on his mind.” In my head, though, I thought, “What does it take to smile back at a little person who is smiling at you?”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a good poem, and I hope your troubles are not too bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Linda Baie says:

    Naomi Nye never fails to enlighten and comfort, always a pleasure, Molly. Thanks for sharing this one. It is a crazy time, but I’m not stopping doing what I can to make things better, and I see you aren’t either! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. margaretsmn says:

    There is comfort in that. One of my favorites from Naomi.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “…because it never forgot what it could do.” Such an important thing to strive for, Molly. It’s all a matter of priorities, right? I’m with the buttonhole.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Amy Warntz says:

    Beautiful poem! My favorite part of your post: Making a difference doesn’t have to involve doing spectacular things. Yes, the little things do matter. I needed to hear that today.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. cvarsalona says:

    Molly, if mankind could remember that each act we do can affect others in a positive way then maybe we could change a bit of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. katswhiskers says:

    John C Maxwell shared this quote on Twitter this week, and it brought a certain peace… by enabling. “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.” —Mother Teresa

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ted Kooser has said that by writing poetry we “honor and affirm life.” Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem is a shining example of this honor and affirmation. When our focus shifts to “what I can do or change instead of being overwhelmed by what I can’t” life does feel more manageable. Thank you for sharing these wise words.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. haitiruth says:

    Naomi Shihab Nye is one of my favorites. She was on “On Being” this week. I have downloaded the podcast but not listened to it yet. Thanks for sharing this one! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      She’s one of my favorites as well! I just got my On Being e-mail this morning and was so excited to see that she was featured. I saved it to savor later.


  11. We all have a purpose that we can’t forget, don’t we? It can be hard to figure what it is, sometimes…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. jarhartz says:

    I just listened to Naomi Shihab Nye on On Being. http://www.onbeing.org/program/naomi-shihab-nye-your-life-is-a-poem/8720
    She is a joy to listen to.
    Love her connection to what matters in times of strife. Thank you for this poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. maryleehahn says:

    Ahh…thank you for this. It calms me in the same way as the post I shared recently on FB: “Remember that self-care is not apathy, and that sensory overload isn’t social justice.”

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Sally Murphy says:

    Such a beautiful poem, and a wonderful sentiment in, as you say, these troubled times. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Love the poem and its sentiment. It’s so Hannah. Make a valuable contribution wherever you are – one to one.

    Liked by 1 person

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