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April 15th JP Poem Pick

Today’s poem, written by Naomi Shihab Nye–a BOA Editions poet, was chosen by Priya Keefe. Enjoy!


The Trashpickers, Madison Street   

by Naomi Shihab Nye


On the edge of dawn’s pale eye,

the trashpickers are lifting the lid of every can,

poking inside with bent hammer and stick.

They murmur in a language as soft as rags.

What have we here?

Their colorless overcoats drift and grow wings.


They pull a creaking wagon, tinfoil wads, knotted string,

to the cave where sacraments of usefulness are performed.

Kneel to the triple weddings of an old nail.

Rejoice in the rebirth of envelopes.

The crooked skillet finds its first kingdom

on a shelf where nothing is new.


They dream small dreams, furry ones,

A swatch of velvet passed hand-to-hand.

Their hearts are compasses fixed to the ground

and their love, more like moss than a fire.


What a fantastic poem! Thanks, Priya. Nye picks out the divine and the beautiful in the seemingly filthy and mundane. Amazing. 

For our prompt today, inspired by Nye’s line “rebirth of envelopes”, let’s write a poem about “submission”. It could be about submitting to a literary journal, a dictator, or a lover. Your interpretations, as always, are what count.

Have fun!

And enjoy the awesome weather we are having today!


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