Poetry Friday: A Poem Needed for These Times


Poetry Friday is held  at My Juicy Little Universe.  Thanks, Heidi.

This is so needed.  Kindness is my new mantra.


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 gaze at 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.

From Words Under the Words: Selected Poems. Copyright © 1995 by Naomi Shihab Nye. From Poets.org


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Happy Friday.

Happy Poetry.



9 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: A Poem Needed for These Times

  1. I think the same could be said for hope. Until you know the awful depths of sadness and despair, and clutch for that lifeline of hope, you cannot really know it. Kindness and hope.

  2. I know this by Naomi Nye, and do love it. She knows what is best, doesn’t she? I am hopeful that kindness will abide with us and overcome the hate that is being handed out like it’s an answer. Thanks, Jone.

  3. This poem surprises me every single time I read it, like I’m reading a new poem entirely. I guess that’s what makes a classic. Thanks, Jone. And I will sign up for a postcard. The blue circle one looks very interesting….

  4. Pingback: NaPoWriMo Poetic Form Challenge 5/30:Take-a-line Tuesdays | Jone Rush MacCulloch

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