Because the eye has a short shadow or
it is hard to see over heads in the crowd?

If everyone else seems smarter
but you need your own secret?

If mystery was never your friend?

If one way could satisfy
the infinite heart of the heavens?

If you liked the king on his golden throne
more than the villagers carrying baskets of lemons?

If you wanted to be sure
his guards would admit you to the party?

            The boy with the broken pencil
            scrapes his little knife against the lead
            turning and turning it as a point
            emerges from the wood again

            If he would believe his life is like that
            he would not follow his father into war

  • Naomi Shihab Nye, “Fundamentalism” from Fuel. Copyright © 1998 by Naomi Shihab Nye. Used by the permission of BOA Editions Ltd., www.boaeditions.org.

  • Source: Fuel (BOA Editions Ltd., 1998)

Poet Bio

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"I learned just how much deeper your understanding of a poem is when you memorize it than when you just read it a couple of times, and how you understand it a little better every single time you recite it."
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2015 WA POL Champion