A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead—you first,” “I like your hat.”
Copyright 2019 Danusha Laméris. First published in Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection from Green Writers Press. Included in Vox Populi by permission of the author.
This poem will be appearing in Danusha’s new collection Bonfire Opera to be released in spring 2020 in the Pitt Poetry Series.
So beautiful and lovely ❤
This poem reminds me that, grown irreligious, I feel the lack of something to replace the genuine community of believers that I was raised in. None of the substitutes on offer seems adequate to me (and I will certainly never go back to the original). Lovely poem!
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I did a whole blog post on your heartfelt poem. I hope you like the tribute. “Diary of a Mindful Nature Lover” at http://www.ninanaomimindfulsimpleliving.blogspot.com, my blog in honor and memory of my mother Nina Naomi. So thankful to you.
wow, you spoke to my constant, of late, lament. thank you soo much. i write about this a lot but not so well!!! i long for the world where we said even a ‘hello’, all i have now in my neighborhood is little kids and dogs to speak to. everyone else is on a phone. very sad tho the phone people seem entranced!!! mary pat kane
Lovely! Thank you for naming these small yet holy kindnesses.💜
Keen signposting. There and there and there. In an age of anxiety, this is no minor miracle. Thank you.
Very nice, Danusha. Thank you.
This poem is being sent around on Facebook right now as I am sure you were aware of. What a beautiful poem That springs from what must be a beautiful heart. Thank you for taking the time to ponder little kindnesses.
This touched me beyond words.
When I read this poem, everything around me softened for a moment.
This touched me deeply; profound in it’s simplicity. Thank you.
I hear your voice as I read aloud in mine. So beautiful
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