“…I was not busy when you came…”

[Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem, “Red Brocade,” was part of an early service I recently attended. Given the current climate of immigration in Canada and abroad, I think this poem is worth sharing.]

 

The Arabs used to say,

When a stranger appears at your door,

feed him for three days

before asking him who he is,

where he’s from,

where he’s headed.

That way he’ll have enough strength

enough to answer.

Or, by then you’ll be

such good friends

you don’t care.

 

Let’s go back to that.

Rice? Pine Nuts?

Here, take the red brocade pillow.

My child will serve water

to your horse.

 

No, I was not busy when you came!

I was not preparing to be busy.

That’s the armour everyone puts on

to pretend they have a purpose

in the world.

 

I refuse to be claimed.

Your plate is waiting.

We will snip fresh mint

into your tea.

 

– “Red Brocade” by Naomi Shihab Nye, from 19 Varieties of Gazelle

keepsake – a poem by Milton Brasher-Cunningham

[This week, SSU was blessed with a visit from author/chef/blogger, Milton Brasher-Cunningham, who gave a short reading and chat at lunch. This is a poem from his new book, Keeping the Feast]

keepsake

there are some nights
when the sky turns
the color of friendship
and fades into the crisp
darkness of gratitude
we ate with friends
drank and talked as well
and then walked away
dropping bits of hope
like breadcrumbs
along the sidewalks
and silent porches
finding our way home
to our porch light
our beacon of belonging
summer will come
and winter will follow
and footprints will fade
but not this indelible
wisp of memory

by Milton Brasher-Cunningham, from Keeping the Feast