Poem: Red Brocade by Naomi Shihab Nye

Red Brocade by Naomi Shihab Nye

The Arabs used to say,
When a stranger appears at your door,
feed him for three days
before asking who he is,
where he’s from,
where he’s headed.
That way, he’ll have strength
enough to answer.
Or, by then you’ll be
such good friends
you don’t care.

Let’s get back to that.
Rice? Pine nuts?
Here, take the read brocade pillow.
My child will serve water
to your horse.

Nor, I was not busy when you came!
I was not preparing to be busy.
That’s just the armor everyone puts on
to pretend they had a purpose
in the world.

I refuse to be claimed.
Your plate is waiting.
We will snip fresh mint
for your tea.


This poem first came to my ears when Judith Black read it before her Thanksgiving dinner one year. I loved it then and love it even more now. Let me snip mint for your tea. TT


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s