September 2008 Poem of the Month: Kindness

Posted by on 09.02.08 | 2 Comments
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Poem of the Month ~ September 2008

May you allow kindness to take residence in all the places where Life has hollowed you out. Become an offering: share the scented blossoms growing in the ruins of your opened heart.

“Kindness” never fails to disrupt and move me to sweet and bitter tears of recognition. For me, this poem speaks to the alchemical art of soul-making in the “vale of sorrows”, where gold and honeycombs and kindness are discovered.

I hope you will take the time to reflect on the meaning of kindness, how it is cultivated in your heart and soul, and is expressed by you in the world. Too often, kindness is associated with ‘being nice.’

Oy, such a superficial understanding!

I pray this poem takes you deeper, to a place of Mystery and depth of imagination where surprises await you, and you become a more and more juicy kindness. Blessings of sweetness and peace,

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 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 from The Words Under the Words: Selected Poems

Copyrighted material; for educational/therapeutic purposes only

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