July 3, 2008

Float free, leaving loneliness behind

What a beautiful poem by Naomi Shihab Nye - featured on The Writer's Almanac today. It is small enough to reproduce here in its entirety but since I do not have the permission like Garrisson Keillor does, I'll provide an excerpt and you go read it at the Almanac link above.

To leave your loneliness
panting behind you on some street corner
while you float free into a cloud of sudden azaleas,
pink petals that have never felt loneliness,
no matter how slowly they fell.

What a beautiful thought. What beautiful imagery: "a cloud of sudden azaleas". (Makes me want to listen to Louis Armstrong in his wonderful piece Azalea, which I've heard on The Great Summit: The Complete Sessions album from Blue Note. Torrent available here. It's not on youtube or I would have embeded it here for you to enjoy.)

I had read Naomi Shihab Nye's book of poems 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East last year. While impressed in parts, I had eventually tired of the cliched stuck-between-two-cultures evocations though to be fair that was the theme of the book, as the title itself makes clear. I did read it in its entirety as its a short book and remember many a poignant /nostalgic moment in many of the poems.

But what freshness in this poem. Almost wants you to suffer from loneliness, so that you can then enjoy the feeling of leaving it behind and floating free.

Back to Armstrong... no Azalea but I'll leave you with three of his many wonderful pieces. Enjoy! Take it away, Satchmo.

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