Mounting Evidence That I May Not Hate Poetry

“Mom, how come you have that poem taped to the end of our bunk beds?” Girl asked a few weeks ago.

She was referring to this:

“A Supple Cord”My brother, in his small white bed,
held one end.
I tugged the other
to signal I was still awake.
We could have spoken,
could have sung
to one another,
we were in the same room
for five years,
but the soft cord
with its little frayed ends
connected us
in the dark,
gave comfort
even if we had been bickering
all day.
When he fell asleep first
and his end of the cord
dropped to the floor,
I missed him terribly,
though I could hear his even breath
and we had such long and separate lives

–by Naomi Shihab Nye

My response, as is my wont, had many layers and went on at great length.

First, I told her, “Well, I like this poem because it reminds me of you and Niblet and how lucky you are to have each other and to be each other’s special person for all of your lives. You know, Dad and I will die someday–not for a long time, we hope, not until cars can fly and fold up into briefcases that we then tote into our offices as we’re carried along by a moving sidewalk–and most likely you and your brother will have a lot of years of life without us. So it’s a comfort to know you’ll always have each other, even after you grow up and go off and do your own things.”

Girl nodded warily, distracted by the idea of briefcase cars.

Then I told her, “Plus, I like this poem because it shows how sharing a room can bring brothers and sisters together. I mean, do your pals K and J share a room?”


“Do they get along?”

“NO! They fight all the time!”

“That’s what I mean. How about your other buddies Q and M? Do they share a room?”

“Oh, yea,” she said, sucking on the ends of her hair and contemplating.

“And do they get along?”

“Totally! They never fight.”

“So, Girl, do you think there’s a connection? How about you and Niblet?”

“We share a room, and he’s my best friend!” she screamed joyously, as the pieces fell into place. Our bodies flushed with the pleasure of a communal comprehension.

Point made. Case rested. Next question?

“Mom, when can I have my own room?”





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28 responses to “Mounting Evidence That I May Not Hate Poetry”

  1. SQT Avatar

    That is so sweet. I’m lucky, my kids actually get along (mostly) despite having separate rooms. I think they must be an unusual breed though. I’m always having other moms ask, “how come they get along so well?”

    Truth is, my daughter is a saint. My son is hell-on-wheels at the best of times. I dread her future rebellion.

  2. cathy Avatar

    must show this post to my kids later:)

  3. lime Avatar


    at our old house the girls shared a room and the boy had his own. many many night he used to weep, ‘you and daddy share a room, my sisters share a room, but i have to be ALL ALONE!’ many many, nights he wound up camped out in one of the other rooms.

  4. Glamourpuss Avatar

    Smart Girl.


  5. Logophile Avatar

    Oooo, I was distracted by briefcase cars…
    our kids have separate rooms these days and still end up together at times. I love that.

  6. Theresa Avatar

    That was lovely. I shed a tear at your explanation, and then I became distracted by the cars turning into briefcases (I can see I’m not the only one). My kids fight a lot, but they are also great friends, and deep down they love each other, even though they would never admit it in public.

  7. Diesel Avatar

    I never thought of that. I’ve been wanting to get our house finished so that our kids wouldn’t have to share a room, but now I’m thinking maybe it’s a good thing that they do.

  8. Tai Avatar

    I wish that…meh, it’s to hard to write about.

    That was a lovely endearing post. Thanks for it!

  9. Maddy Avatar

    Ah yes. My kids would nest in the same bed given half a chance. [they get a chance sometimes]

    I shared a room with my brother for years until I was officially ‘too big.’ We don’t have a rope to connect us between the US and China, but hey, we have email now.
    Best wishes

  10. Amanda Avatar

    At this point, I’m lucky that I only have ONE. So sharing a room isn’t a problem. ๐Ÿ™‚

    By the way, my ONE daughter shares your name. Although, we spell it much differently. And on my blog, she goes by the name Curly Mop.

  11. actonbell Avatar

    That poem makes me teary, but that’s okay:) May your two children never lose that closeness!

  12. Hammer Avatar

    Crap, my girls are going to want their own rooms someday. I hope they don’t get any ideas before I can afford it ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Whippersnapper Avatar

    Although the bunk bed is too old for her right now, my youngest will be settling into it within the next year or so, complete w/ older sister above her. Sometimes I panic and rue our the fact that we don’t have a room for each of them, but I mostly I think it’s nice that they will be sleeping so close together for a while. Although I suspect that the older one, superior in her higher bunk, will be doing a lot of farting when the time comes. Just because she can..

  14. my4kids Avatar

    I don’t know about that though. My boys have always shared a room and they beat the snot out of each other! The girls get along well, well most of the time anyway.

  15. Amanda Avatar

    Thanks for visiting my blog!!

    As far as music…
    This is how I do it.

    I go to to host the file. (I don’t think it will convert a .wav file but if you can figure out how to change the extention??) After you’ve hosted it, you take the URL and get a Pickle Player (just google it and you’ll be able to find the single players.) Insert the URL and you should be able to play it. If you need more help, email me. and I can try to walk you through it in more detail. ๐Ÿ™‚ Take care and thanks for the comment.

  16. rak Avatar

    i adore that poem! i shared a room w/ my bro as children… brings back fond memories. thank you for that! love your blog=)

  17. Stepping Over the Junk Avatar
    Stepping Over the Junk

    My girls share a room. They don’t like being separated. They have their own rooms at their dad’s house but they end up in the bunk beds in one of the rooms every night together

  18. Princess Pointful Avatar
    Princess Pointful

    That is lovely.
    I love the fact that you take the time to point these things out to them!

  19. Her Grace Avatar
    Her Grace

    Love that poem. It’s so going to go in each of their baby books with a picture of them together.

    Loved her response.

  20. frannie Avatar

    that is the sweetest poem! I loved it!

  21. jen Avatar

    you make me want to have another baby. so knock it off already.

  22. TLP Avatar

    You know, you’re kinda smart. Good post.

  23. Franki Avatar

    My kids shared a room for a couple of years and they still get along famously. Now I wonder if it was the bunk beds. How sweet!

  24. Diana Avatar

    Thank goodness for that last bit. I was thinking she was some sort of alien-human hybrid but it seems she’s all human after all.

    A very delightful human, indeed.

  25. urban-urchin Avatar

    the girl is a keeper, that is certain. your kids are lovely and I hope after that annoying I hate you get out of my room phase from 13-18 that they’ll always be best friends.

    I am not close to my brother, I’ve told my parents that when they die I will most likely lose all contact with him as he really wants nothing to do with us- it truly breaks my heart.

  26. Mother of Invention Avatar
    Mother of Invention

    That’s a great post and poem! I’ve never seen it nor have I heard of the poet but it hits the nail right on the head. You can feel the connection as well as the rope.

    Your kids look like the neatest kids..the kind I’d want in my class and when they’re handing out the class lists, your eyes dart to where their names would be hopinh to see them!!

  27. StickyManSam Avatar

    Thats cool…I use to share a room with my sis. We use to have one of them
    cheap bunk beds
    . We always got along.

  28. CS Avatar

    Ha ha! Nice try!

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