Naomi Shihab Nye

(12 March 1952 / St. Louis, Missouri)

Two Countries - Poem by Naomi Shihab Nye

Skin remembers how long the years grow
when skin is not touched, a gray tunnel
of singleness, feather lost from the tail
of a bird, swirling onto a step,
swept away by someone who never saw
it was a feather. Skin ate, walked,
slept by itself, knew how to raise a
see-you-later hand. But skin felt
it was never seen, never known as
a land on the map, nose like a city,
hip like a city, gleaming dome of the mosque
and the hundred corridors of cinnamon and rope.

Skin had hope, that's what skin does.
Heals over the scarred place, makes a road.
Love means you breathe in two countries.
And skin remembers--silk, spiny grass,
deep in the pocket that is skin's secret own.
Even now, when skin is not alone,
it remembers being alone and thanks something larger
that there are travelers, that people go places
larger than themselves.


Comments about Two Countries by Naomi Shihab Nye

  • Edward Kofi Louis (9/5/2016 8:49:00 AM)


    People go places! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

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  • (7/3/2016 7:02:00 AM)


    people goes places larger than themselves.
    Thoughtful inference drawn. Thanks for sharing it here.10 points.
    (Report) Reply

  • (2/18/2015 2:02:00 PM)


    I really love this.

    This is like...the moon against the sun, or the rain against the lightening...

    this is like form and unform, all twisting and seething inside us all.
    (Report) Reply

  • (2/18/2015 2:02:00 PM)


    I really love this.

    This is like...the moon against the sun, or the rain against the lightening...

    this is like form and unform, all twisting and seething inside us all.
    (Report) Reply

  • (2/18/2015 2:01:00 PM)


    I really love this.

    This is like...the moon against the sun, or the rain against the lightening...

    this is like form and unform, all twisting and seething inside us all.
    (Report) Reply

  • (2/18/2015 11:37:00 AM)


    Life changes so often - age can cause memories to become so foreign - that perhaps we view ourselves as vacant skin then - or now....Excellent write - but must be true to my own self by saying that the nonsense words do not appeal to me.... a hundred corridors of cinnamon and rope. I don't understand that reference at all and it so takes away from an otherwise beautifully written poem..... The passion for poetry is innate - but good poetry only comes from the honest critical eyes of others. (Report) Reply

  • Akhtar Jawad (2/18/2015 9:39:00 AM)


    A nice poem...................................... (Report) Reply

  • (2/18/2015 5:44:00 AM)


    Here skin is a mind that feels, remembers and so forth. It is as if the skin is a separate part of the body with its own body, heart, mind.

    This poem is believable. One can buy what it sells. And yes, sometimes it seems that this is what skin does.

    The overall effect of this poem is one of a feeling felt when one reads a well-written poem

    Thanks!

    Luis A. Estable
    (Report) Reply

  • Godfrey Morris (2/18/2015 4:59:00 AM)


    Beautiful poem of inspiration (Report) Reply

  • (9/28/2004 9:39:00 AM)


    A poem brimful of hope (Report) Reply

Read all 10 comments »



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Read poems about / on: city, thanks, alone, people, hope, lost, remember, sleep



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003



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