You Have to Be Careful
You have to be careful telling things.
Some ears are tunnels.
Your words will go in and get lost in the dark.
Some ears are flat pans like the miners used
looking for gold.
What you say will be washed out with the stones.
You look for a long time til you find the right ears.
Til then, there are birds and lamps to be spoken to,
a patient cloth rubbing shine in circles,
and the slow, gradually growing possibility
that when you find such ears
they already know.
-Naomi Shihab Nye
"You Have to Be Very Careful" from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems by Naomi Shihab Nye. Copyright © 1995.