Saturday, May 31, 2008

Being Naomi Shihab Nye

Here is one of my dearest most beloved friends, Naomi Shihab Nye, being interviewed by Bill Moyers where she reads her poem "The Art of Disappearing." Below is a portion of the transcript and Naomi reading this most beautiful poem. Enjoy!

BILL MOYERS: I want to come back in closing to-- to what is my favorite poem of yours. The one that-- that helped me most after I was recovering from heart surgery. I actually carry it around. In very tiny print. You can't read that, in my wallet. I read it. I don't know if I can follow it but I-- I am constantly reading it. And I printed it out for you to read. As you know, this is my favorite.

What beauty! I love you, my friend.

In the hustle and bustle of life and in the many moments of disingenuous encounters, what significance does this poem have for you? How is it significant personally or professionally?


John O'Leary said...

Whew. What a gem this is. Judith, you're killing me with this stuff.

I'm amazed at your ubiquitousness on the blogosphere - especially on other sites. Do you sleep on occasion?

judith ellis said...

I am so happy you enjoyed Naomi. Speaking of gems, she is one. I'll have to tell you over tea (maybe we'll get to do this one day) how we met by "chance" in an airport 15 years ago. It was a beautiful encounter; we bonded instantly.

Regarding my sleeping habits, I do manage to get a few hours in nightly. But I am a big proponent of those short naps mid-day. I try to get one in, if I can. As of late, this has not been possible much. But the simple thought of it sometimes calms enough to move to the next moment.

I've been blessed with a energy cycle unbeatable by most. The downside sometimes is turning it down. But I don't do too badly. This may come as a surprise: I am as peaceful as I am energetic. I rarely go to bed with looming thoughts, no matter what the day presented. My nights are usually peaceful, even when I'm up.

"He gives his beloved sleep." This sleep to me is peace.

John O'Leary said...

Speaking of poetry, are you familiar with Rabindranath Tagore? I just rediscovered him...

"The learned say that your lights will one day be no more," said the firefly to the stars.

The stars made no answer.

(You know I love those Bengali mystics!)

judith ellis said...

Beautiful! I'm not familiar with this poet. But I'll check him out for sure. Thanks.