I have been reading Naomi Shihab Nye’s poetry recently and there’s one particular title that caught my eye as I was finishing her book, A Maze Me: Poems for Girls (which I should have discovered when we were doing our Girl Power bimonthly theme).
I borrowed this book from the library and have enjoyed it as much as I did her Honeybee. I thought of sharing one of the poems here entitled The List. I thought it was perfect for our current bimonthly theme “Dusty Bookshelves and Library Loot” plus I wanted to check with fellow Poetry Friday enthusiasts whether you have also created such a list. I, for one, don’t have such a list, but there is an ever growing number of books in my shelves waiting to be read.
Poetry Friday is hosted by the amazing Sylvia Vardell of Poetry for Children.
By Naomi Shihab Nye
A man told me he had calculated
the exact number of books
he would be able to read before he died
by figuring the average number
of books he read per month
and his probable earth span,
(averaging how long
his dad and grandpa had lived,
adding on a few years since he
exercised more than they did).
Then he made a list of necessary books,
nonfiction mostly, history, philosophy,
fiction, and poetry from different time periods
so there wouldn’t be large gaps in his mind.
He had given up frivolous reading entirely.
There are only so many days.
Oh, I felt sad to hear such an organized plan.
What about the books that aren’t written yet,
the books his friends might recommend
that aren’t on the list,
the yummy magazine that might fall
into his hand at a silly moment after all?
What about the mystery search
through the delectable library shelves?
I felt the heartbeat of forgotten precious books
calling for his hand.