Poem – Tired

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 could do.

— Famous by Naomi Shihab Nye


by Indian MacGyver

I want to be as tired as the river
That runs from the mountaintops
To the bottom of the ocean.

I want to be as tired as hands
Holding a family together.

I want to be as tired as the terminally single
Clinging to life support.

I want to be as tired as a dog
Guarding an empty house full of love.

I want to be as tired as a squirrel
Burying nuts for winter,
And seeding a forest for spring.

I want to be as tired as a cool breeze
On a hot day or as tired as the voice of reason.
Not because the work’s hard or extraordinary
But because when I had a choice I never gave up.


The above is inspired by and modeled on, Famous by Naomi Shihab Nye. A framed copy of it sits on my desk at work, and has done so for a full year now.

I assumed everyone who read it walked away with the same meaning, the same feeling, that I did (still do). Eventually I realized that’s not the case nor should it be.

So this is my explanation, my meaning, my feeling when I read Nye’s poem.

If you haven’t done so click the link above and read Famous, in full (you won’t be disappointed). See if it inspires you. You’ll be in good company if it does, Famous is a favorite of Bill Murray’s too!

Murray write’s of the [quote above], “It’s not the dream of being big. It’s the dream of being real. That’s what stands out to me.”

— Rolling Stone May 2016

And if you are inspired I’ld love to hear your take on Famous or simply share you favorite poem and what it means to you!


© Indian Macgyver 2017


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