In honor of Valentine’s Day coming up next week, I’d like to feature a poem from Naomi Shihab Nye’s amazing new collection, Honeybee (Greenwillow, 2008). Her new anthology includes 82 poems, including many prose poems, on school, war, families, landscapes and bees… the connecting thread that buzzes through the poems with nectar and implication. There are many selections about words and books and libraries (one of my favorite poem topic that I have featured previously). She takes us along with her in her travels through Texas (her home state and mine) and Egypt and childhood and airports and beehives. It’s a striking variety of vignettes and anecdotes and observations all threaded through her unique poetic voice. Honeybee is political, personal, and powerful. I marked at least eight poems that I just had to keep in my “favorite poems” notebook. Here’s one small sampling about love and marriage from the point of view of a two year old!
Lyda Rose walked through our front door and said.
“Where is the sock monkey? I need him.” This surprised
me. She had never shown any interest in the sock mon-
We began digging in the tall basked where the stuffed animals
Lyda Rose said, “I am two and a half now, did you know
that? Where is he?”
We threw out the snake, the yellow bunnies, battered
bears, a strange small eagle wearing a blue T-shirt, a soft
camel, and the bird that makes a chickadee sound if you
press its belly.
Sock Monkey was buried at the bottom.
Lyda Rose clutched him to her chest. “My husband!” she
said, closing her eyes dreamily.
I was astonished. “Your husband? When did this happen?”
She spoke clearly and definitely. “I thought of him and
I married him in my mind.”
She ran around the dining room clutching her husband
tightly, singing the song of a chickadee trapped in a
“How great! I am happy for you both! I said,
She did not answer, lost in a newlywed’s swoon.
I said, “It is so nice that you love him now!”
And she stopped dancing, staring at me
“I didn’t say I love him! I said, he is my husband!” *
Poignant, funny, unsentimental, crystal clear and child-sincere. What a gem!
And don’t forget to join the Poetry Friday Round Up at AmoXcalli.
Picture credit: amazon.com