Hello Poem by Naomi Shihab Nye


Rating: 3.3

Some nights
the rat with pointed teeth
makes his long way back
to the bowl of peaches.
He stands on the dining room table
sinking his tooth
drinking the pulp
of each fruity turned-up face
knowing you will read
this message and scream.
It is his only text,
to take and take in darkness,
to be gone before you awaken
and your giant feet
start creaking the floor.

Where is the mother of the rat?
The father, the shredded nest,
which breath were we taking
when the rat was born,
when he lifted his shivering snout
to rafter and rivet and stone?
I gave him the names of the devil,
seared and screeching names,
I would not enter those rooms
without a stick to guide me,
I leaned on the light, shuddering,
and the moist earth under the house,
the trailing tails of clouds,
said he was in the closet,
the drawer of candles,
his nose was a wick.

How would we live together
with our sad shoes and hideouts,
our lock on the door
and his delicate fingered paws
that could clutch and grip,
his blank slate of fur
and the pillow where we press our faces?
The bed that was a boat is sinking.
And the shores of morning loom up
lined with little shadows,
things we never wanted to be, or meet,
and all the rats are waving hello.

Susan Williams 10 March 2016

I lived in a mouse-ridden house and though I dislike killing creatures I could not live with these smelly vermin carrying things running across my counters, across my bed. I set my traps, I set out poison. I killed your mouse's daddy and brother even somewhat cute as they were. Sorry, Naomi, please don't bar me from reading your lovely work..

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Dr Antony Theodore 12 December 2019

And the shores of morning loom up lined with little shadows, things we never wanted to be, or meet, and all the rats are waving hello. waving hallo to me.. interesting poem. tony

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Mahtab Bangalee 12 December 2019

Rats are good at hiding so these nests might be tucked away in attics, basements or crawl spaces or hidden in the walls. Along with health concerns and other problems, poor sanitation can lead to a situation where rats and mice have easy access to food and water sources, encouraging them to move in and create a nest in home without any friendship with rats. O no hello

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Sylvia Frances Chan 12 December 2019

Mice? I am sorry if one can be seen in the house, but I do not know this luxury. How bad. They bring diseases. By the way, for a poem it is very nice to create, and for the readers very nice to read about their playfulness. A well-deserved Modern Poem Of The Day, Naomi. CONGRATULATIONS!

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Sylvia Frances Chan 12 December 2019

...... A RAT? I THOUGHT they were mice, but a RAT family? That´s so very eerie! Sorry for my exclaim. I am truly shocked. In my whole life I have seen only one tiny mouse, which accidentally came into the house through the cellar, since that tiny mouse lost its way in the woods, our mansion lies near the woods.

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Bernard F. Asuncion 12 March 2020

An amazing poem........10++ Please read my new poem BIRTHDAY NOTE. Thanks🙏❤️👌

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Ratnakar Mandlik 12 December 2019

An innovative theme coming in form of narration by a kid about encounters with rats and experiences through which they took it iis captivating and worthy of selection as modern poem of the day.

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The Muse 12 December 2019

A unique poem. Congratulations on making it to poem of the day

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Edward Kofi Louis 12 December 2019

Where are the parents of the rat! ! ! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.

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Savita Tyagi 12 December 2019

Such a spell binding narrative of having encounters with small living creatures we call nuisance. I too wrote a poem about having a rat and a squirrel in my attic. A small problem compare to so much that we go through life yet for some time it consumed all our energy and attention. Congratulations Naomi Shihab. It’s a pleasure to read your poems.

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Naomi Shihab Nye

Naomi Shihab Nye

St. Louis, Missouri
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