Thursday, August 16, 2012

Clouds and Kindness

These clouds have appeared as gifts of tumultuous beauty throughout the past month at precisely the right moment, reminding me that Life has an...

"...uncanny way of showing up at exactly the right moment to summon you below the surface of your life."
~Kim Rosen

The above quote is how Kim Rosen describes the poetry of Naomi Shihab Nye. You can read an interview between Kim and Naomi here.

Her poem, Kindness has touched me to the core this evening. Kindness is the one thing that we all need to give and receive more of. Perhaps it is all that is left after everything else has been stripped away.


By Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

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