Famous, Naomi Shihab Nye
Fame has come to mean celebrity, but its earlier meanings are reputation, or the character attributed to someone. What do we want to be known for? What character are we keen to see attributed to us. Many of the juxtapositions in this poem trade upon fame in the sense of “notorious” or being of ill-repute. Do I want to be known as the sleeping cat or the dress shoes that scuff the floor? What does it mean to be famous as the one who smiled back? What are the simple forms of being noticed—not for spectacular notoriety, but simply for doing what we can do? Be a pulley or a buttonhole.
Todd Breyfogle, Denver, Colorado