Monday, July 23, 2007

Newly discovered poem

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.



Blogger don't eat alone said...

She is an amazing poet. When I read this poem, I think of the Good Samaritan: Jesus could have quoted this poem instead of telling the story.


July 23, 2007 9:26 AM  
Blogger Theresa Williams said...

Cyn, this is one of my absolute fave poems. It is on my office door at work!

July 23, 2007 10:54 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Amazing poem. I feel like I've almost been the place she describes...

July 23, 2007 11:54 PM  
Blogger Gannet Girl said...

I'm stealing this for my blog.

July 24, 2007 7:44 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

I found you through Gannet Girl. thank you for sharing this. I'm going to look for more of this.

July 24, 2007 8:09 AM  

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