by Naomi Shihab Nye
When we think about Fame—the condition of famousness, not the campy 80s movie loved by retro-hipsters everywhere—the last thing we think of is nature. Well, maybe forces of nature. But still, we have a hard time comparing Lady Gaga to a cat sleeping on a fence, even if she does show up at the Grammy Awards in a cat suit. Sure this poem features a cat and some birds engaged in the circle of life, but did you notice how many times Nye mentions 'the earth'? Well, it is only two, but we still think it is important because so many of her examples describe the natural world just doing what it naturally does, and that makes it famous.
- Line 1: Fish? Rivers? Sounds pretty natural to us.
- Line 3: There's that "earth." Such a word choice suggests nature, but in this case, it's also an allusion to Matthew 5:5. In a way, we might think of this as emphasizing the supremacy of nature. When all of humanity, with all our jabbering, is gone, the silence will still be there, happily enjoying the earth it inherited.
- Line 5: This cat is just going about his business, doing what cats naturally do, which is, of course, nap.
- Lines 7, 8, 13: And here are some examples of things people naturally do—feel (7) and imagine (8), and of course love other people (13).
- Line 10: There's that earth again, and this time, it's being used quite literally. She's talking about the earth—the dirt on which we walk in our boots.