“Adios” by Naomi Shihab Nye

It is a good word, rolling off the tongue
no matter what language you were born with,
Use it. Learn where it begins,
the small alphabet of departure,
how long it takes to think of it,
then say, then be heard.

Marry it. More than any golden ring,
it shines, it shines.
Wear it on every finger
till your hands dance,
touching everything easily,
letting everything, easily, go.

Strap it to your back like wings.
Or a kite-tail. The stream of air behind a jet.
If you are known for anything,
let it be the way you rise out of sight
when your work is finished.

Think of things that linger: leaves,
cartons and napkins, the damp smell of mold.

Think of things that disappear.

Think of what you love best,
what brings tears into your eyes.

Something that said adios to you
before you knew what it meant
or how long it was for.

Explain little, the word explains itself.
Later perhaps. Lessons following lessons,
like silence following sound.

“Adios” by Naomi Shihab Nye. From Words Under the Words: Selected Poems (Far Corner Books, 1995).

5 thoughts on ““Adios” by Naomi Shihab Nye

    1. I’ve learned that if we need to ask if something is purely coincidence, then it is most probably not.

      I do love that….how I can schedule a group of poems weeks out, and what seems like haphazardly assigning dates to different poems, turns out to be almost predetermined by the fates.

      (My focal word for the year is “Simplify,” so I’ve been letting go, saying adios, to all the Stuff in my life that no longer serves me or brings me joy. It’s not easy, but by letting go of the old, stagnant, or toxic, I find the energy around me flows so much freer and healthier and lighter.

      But being an emotional packrat, adios does not come easy.

      I’ll be on the lookout for your piece! (I see you have a new site?) Feel free to leave the link here if you want. I really want to share some of your work this year!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I said adios to my old blog. And haphazardly think when I said “export my blog” that I lost all the years in what was deemed necessary. Hoping my losses are no comparison to my gains this year. I’m starting from scratch…


      2. Ahhhh….gotcha.
        I know that’s gotta be painful. But freeing too, in a way.
        Did you contact WordPress for help? They’re pretty awesome.

        I do most of my blog reading in the Feedly reader. It keeps an archive of posts from the RSS feed…so I have all (or most) of your posts’ titles and like the first paragraph of each (you must have had your settings to only share a preview in email or readers) but if it helps I can send you screenshots or something. Or I can send you directions via email on how to set it up for yourself.

        Sometimes a blank slate can be the just the needed thing. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

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