The river is famous to the fish.
The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth
before anybody said so.
The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.
The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.
The idea you carry close to your bosom
is famous to your bosom.
The boot is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.
The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.
I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.
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.
~Naomi Shihab Nye “Famous” from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems
Here’s the truth of it:
no one really wants to be famous
but seeks a life of meaning and purpose
rather than one empty of significance.
The button alone is
a flash in the pan,
a bauble ready to loosen and fall off,
easy to go missing.
A button hole by itself
without a button to latch around
is plain and gaping and lonely and allows in drafts,
blending into the background,
silently waiting for its moment of usefulness.
We cannot forget who we’re meant to be
and what we’re meant to do –
we fit the task for which we’re made.
Send me a button and I’ll make sure it is secured.