poet Naomi Shihab Nye

Naomi Shihab Nye

#145 on top 500 poets

Half-And-Half

You can't be, says a Palestinian Christian
on the first feast day after Ramadan.
So, half-and-half and half-and-half.
He sells glass. He knows about broken bits,
chips. If you love Jesus you can't love
anyone else. Says he.

At his stall of blue pitchers on the Via Dolorosa,
he's sweeping. The rubbed stones
feel holy. Dusting of powdered sugar
across faces of date-stuffed mamool.

This morning we lit the slim white candles
which bend over at the waist by noon.
For once the priests weren't fighting
in the church for the best spots to stand.
As a boy, my father listened to them fight.
This is partly why he prays in no language
but his own. Why I press my lips
to every exception.

A woman opens a window—here and here and here—
placing a vase of blue flowers
on an orange cloth. I follow her.
She is making a soup from what she had left
in the bowl, the shriveled garlic and bent bean.
She is leaving nothing out.


Submitted by R. Joyce Heon

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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Comments about Half-And-Half by Naomi Shihab Nye

  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (12/5/2017 11:43:00 AM)

    She is leaving nothing out! ! Thanks for sharing.

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  • Rajnish MangaRajnish Manga (12/5/2017 11:07:00 AM)

    To me this seems to be a part of a larger poem. Here also, the expression 'If you love Jesus you can't love anyone else'. I think anyone who loves Jesus will love everyone because he stands for love and compassion. Thanks.

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  • Deepak Kumar Pattanayak (12/5/2017 9:39:00 AM)

    Half-and-Half has been exhibited here so complete a combination of qualities in a state of perfect and universal
    harmony and love.........very well crafted........thanks for sharing

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