Streets

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

This is a striking way to bring us into the poem, and we want to learn more
about the shortening of these streets. Patty Schlutt, age 14
Short lines bring out the short streets. Amy Fleming, age 17

 
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

This is a beautiful way to personify the sky. Patty Schlutt, age 15

and the sky which sews and sews, tirelessly sewing,
drops her purple hem.

Naomi Shihab Nye's characterization of the sky sewing an elegant garment heightens the sense of how magical a place the world can be when seen through certain eyes. Andrew De Haan, age 22

Each thing in its time, in its place,
it would be nice to think the same about people.

On the above line the poem hinges. Nye drives home the poem by twisting it, speaking of how often people live multi-lives, our person changing with our surroundings. Andrew De Haan, age 22

 
Some people do. They sleep completely,
waking refreshed. Others live in two worlds,
the lost and remembered.

I like how they are living for the others who are gone. Hannah Fleming, age 14

They sleep twice, once for the one who is gone,
once for themselves. They dream thickly,

"Thickly" is a great adverb to describe the way they dream. Patty Schlutt, age 15

dream double, they wake from a dream
into another one, they walk the short streets
calling out names, and then they answer.

I love how Nye ties the ending into the beginning: the streets growing shorter, the echo of a voice in the silence of us standing quietly together. Patty Schlutt, age 15
Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.