Sunday, September 11, 2011

This poem, though not specifically dealing with the tragedy of 9/11, seems somehow appropriate :


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 any 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.

~ Naomi Shihab Nye

8 comments: said...

A quiet, poignant poem that tugs at the strings of my heart. Thank you for sharing.

Gary L. Everest said...

Hello Don,
Thanks for sharing the wonderful poem. I agree with you; It's perfect for September 11th.

Don Gray said...

Thanks for the note, lochinvarwelsh.

Don Gray said...

You're welcome, Gary--thanks for coming by.

Anonymous said...

Don, thanks for including that poem as part of the daily insight you offer us.
Anne Thrower

Don Gray said...

You're welcome, Anne--I'm glad it held meaning for you. said...

This is such a heartfelt poem...enough to simply take your breath away...

Don Gray said...

I agree, Donna. Glad you liked it.