The road from nobody to somebody

“If I am I because I am I and you are you because you are you, then I am I and you are you. But if I am I because you are you, and you are you because I am I, then I am not I and you are not you.” — Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk

Once there was nobody
who spent much of his time
preoccupied with becoming somebody

He required certain people and things
to embark upon somebodyhood
’twas a trying task indeed
this climb from nobody to somebodyship


Somewhere along the road
from nobody to somebody
somebody found himself to be
part somebody
part nobody
but more somebody than nobody


So this is what it feels like to be a somebody,
thought once-nobody
as he wore his somebody hat
and met fellow somebodies
to discuss some things
(unknown to nobodies)

I’m someone!
thought somebody
as he walked with busybodies
where somebodies summer
(or winter)

I’m not nobody
proclaimed somebody
which makes me a sure somebody
and no longer nobody

But then

Somebody met nobody
who was once somebody
’twas confusing for both somebody and nobody

Their discussion lasted well into the night

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, could not somebody have heard it too?

Nobody agreed that somebody might hear the falling tree but . . .


Sounds heard by somebody are different than sounds heard by nobody

Oh to be somebody turned nobody

Oh to be nobody turned somebody

Whom to be?

Nobody knew

Nobody and somebody decided to trade hats so that each would know how it felt to be in the other’s shoes

But somebody remembered his nobodyhood
and nobody remembered his somebodyhood

Which is exactly how it was meant to be from the very beginning of somebodyship.

Originally published on

About the Author
Chana holds an M.S. in Special Education. Her innovative poems, essays and lectures reflect two and a half decades of experience working with students of all ages and abilities. Chana's writing has been published on, as well as in The Canadian Jewish News, The Jewish Press, and AMI. As a longtime volunteer with the Friendship Circle, Chana was recognised by the Ontario Legislature for “bringing a smile to the faces of children with special needs.” Although Chana 's "heart is in the east" she currently lives with her with her family in Toronto.