A man leaves the world
and the streets he lived on
grow a little shorter.

One more window dark
in this city, the figs on his branches
will soften for birds.

If we stand quietly enough evenings
there grows a whole company of us
standing quietly together.
overhead loud grackles are claiming their trees
and the sky which sews and sews, tirelessly sewing,
drops her purple hem.
Each thing in its time, in its place,
it would be nice to think the same about people.

Some people do. They sleep completely,
waking refreshed. Others live in two worlds,
the lost and remembered.
They sleep twice, once for the one who is gone,
once for themselves. They dream thickly,
dream double, they wake from a dream
into another one, they walk the short streets
calling out names, and then they answer.

by Naomi Shihab Nye

Other poems of NYE (45)

Comments (1)

As we pass away from the world, only out footprints remain as echoes, I think she is expressing that when we go the streets on which we live the world becomes smaller, but when we live as a collective a part of us remains within the whole and on the street. At least that's how I interpret it.