Naomi Shihab Nye

(12 March 1952 / St. Louis, Missouri)

Famous - Poem by Naomi Shihab Nye

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.


Comments about Famous by Naomi Shihab Nye

  • Sylvia Frances Chan (12/25/2018 6:10:00 AM)


    A unique topic of the poem,
    I like the unexpected
    just unique.
    Thank you for sharing this thought-provoking poem.
    (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Paresh Chakra (12/4/2018 10:47:00 AM)


    The boot is famous to the earth,
    more famous than the dress shoe, this stanga is very nice
    which is famous only to floors
    (Report) Reply

  • (3/10/2016 6:26:00 PM)


    nice extension of 'famous' (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (3/10/2016 3:14:00 PM)


    Absolutely top-notch in its writing and in its heart-felt message. (Report) Reply

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal (3/10/2016 1:58:00 PM)


    Wonderful poem, it is the blend of name, fame and glory and the needs and wants of human. (Report) Reply

  • Mannika S Raghav (3/10/2016 1:06:00 PM)


    and so you are, famous, for just being a poet and touching our hearts. (Report) Reply

  • Jasbir Chatterjee (3/10/2016 3:23:00 AM)


    congrats on being the poet of the day! (Report) Reply

  • Jasbir Chatterjee (3/10/2016 3:23:00 AM)


    I like your complete identification with the underdog... (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (3/10/2016 1:39:00 AM)


    We are all important in life. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Dutendra Chamling (3/10/2016 12:50:00 AM)


    ...The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
    watching him from the birdhouse...

    Wonderful poem.
    (Report) Reply

  • (2/1/2014 7:31:00 AM)


    This poem captures everything I love about the poetry of Naomi Shihab Nye, the conversational tone, the startling aspect of ordinary experience suddenly seen from a different angle, the quiet grace, the humor. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012



Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. Television
    Roald Dahl
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