Poetry Friday: Because of Libraries by Naomi Shihab Nye

Thanks to Michelle at Michelle Kogan for hosting Poetry Friday.

I think this is a fitting poem for the end of the school year.  The last stanza speaks to me the most.

Because of Libraries We Can Say These Things by Naomi Shihab 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.

– from Fuel, by Naomi Shihab Nye

Check It Out will be on hiatus as I figure out what the content of this blog will be now that I’m retired (weird for me to say).


8 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Because of Libraries by Naomi Shihab Nye

  1. This poem brings a sigh of relief for all, especially children, who
    find solace in their books. Naomi Shihab Nye for poet laureate. (Or has she served in that ambassadorship, already?)

    I look forward later hearing of next endeavors. Enjoy a summer that is exactly right for you.

  2. There have been hard times in my life when drifting in and out of the book was the only way to make it through: “She will have a book to open and open and open.” Nye tells us the best ways to live, doesn’t she? Thanks, Jone, best of wishes for finding books just for your times!

  3. I love this poem! Of course, I don’t think I’ve read any by Nye that I didn’t love. That ending is just perfect. So many books have been my companions through life.

  4. What a beautiful, beautiful, story-image of what this book is for this kid. I haven’t bumped into a Nye poem that doesn’t just make me say, “wow” yet. This is no exception. I love that it’s part of a collection titled Fuel. Yes, books are fuel, aren’t they?

  5. “what this town has not given her, the book will provide” Love this. Books let us live in so many different times and places and in so many different people’s shoes. Thanks for sharing.

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