Naomi Shihab Nye

(12 March 1952 / St. Louis, Missouri)

Half-And-Half - Poem by Naomi Shihab Nye

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


Comments about Half-And-Half by Naomi Shihab Nye

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


    She is leaving nothing out! ! Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

    2 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Rajnish 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. (Report) Reply

  • (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
    (Report) Reply

Read all 3 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: woman, father, flower, women



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



[Report Error]