The river is famous to the fish.
The loud voice is famous to the silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.
The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.
The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.
The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.
The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.
The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it,
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.
I want to be famous to the shuffling men,
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.
I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it did.
This is one of my favorite poems.I like it because it gives a sense of being, every object or person is important to something. My favorite line in this poem is when Nye states, "the tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek." This statement is so real. In those few short words she brings about such a deep visual of a tear drop cascading down someones cheek. By using objects such as a tear, a buttonhole, boots, shoes, and a photograph this poem comes alive in such a beautiful way. It's so true when she says, "the bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it, and not at all famous to the one who is pictured." I've never really thought about it but that is such an honest statement. A photo means so much more to the person who holds it and looks at it then to the person who is merely posing in it. I love that statement. Then there is the last stanza which ties everything together. The speaker states she wants to be just like a pulley or a buttonhole, her reason being "not because it did anything spectacular, but because it never forgot what it did." A wonderful end to a beautiful, simple poem with such an amazing meaning.