Poetry and Meditation

Poetry is a wonderful accompaniment to meditation, especially when the poet speaks of a deep spiritual, human truth through skillful use of words. Naomi Shihab Nye is such a poet, and I first found her through her popular poem, Kindness. Here, I share a poem I read at a meditation group recently. I was guest teaching for Heart of Light Meditation in Berkeley, California. At the end of a silent sit, I read aloud these words.


Naomi Shihab Nye

The Music Box

I don’t know who gave me this instrument,

what happened to the box that once housed

this now-bare motor … I turn the knob,

again, again, till the thing is tightly wound,

then watch the intricate wheels spin against one another

clicking out tiny metallic notes.

It is a familiar song but I couldn’t name it.

It repeats over and over, a miniature anthem

vibrating in my hand.

I feel there is something I should remember,

at least who gave it to me, but this memory has fallen away

like so many others. Sometimes I feel the mind’s

thin shavings scattering the minute they fall,

like the notes of this music-box disappearing into Monday,

even the ones that play together, the highest note,

even the pause.

~ Naomi Shihab Nye, Words Under The Words


  1. Blue Buddha on October 17, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this. So many deep feelings resonating.

    • Rain Elizabeth on October 17, 2016 at 4:38 pm

      How wonderful that you have found this blog, and I feel so honored and touched by your comment. Thank you!

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