Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Naomi Shihab Nye: Kindness

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. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

220px-Naomishihabnye

4 comments on “Naomi Shihab Nye: Kindness

  1. Charlotte Whaley
    July 9, 2017

    Kindness an important poem. Splendid work.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sofia Kioroglou
    May 19, 2016

    Exquisite!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fernando Flores
    May 11, 2016

    A gem of a poem…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jane B Dickson
    May 10, 2016

    Pause. Absorb. Feel. Share.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on July 9, 2015 by in Opinion Leaders, Poetry and tagged , , .

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