Wednesday, July 13, 2011

a poem i love

i have been thinking about this poem lately and just pulled it out to read again. it still just hits me like it did the first time.

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 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.

Is it just me, or is that just right? I have been "catching the thread" lately and sometimes feel so overwhelmed by the "size of the cloth" the it is hard to breath... i am so grateful for the kindness that ties my shoes and sends me out into the day-- the kindness of my friends, my children, my husband, my God.


LB said...

Yes, that is just right!!

jane said...

you know lb- i thought of after i typed this out... i'm so glad you saw it and liked it! y'all are in our thoughts and prayers so much right now! please let me know if we can help out.

jane said...

oops-- that was hardly readable... e is at my side distracting me-- sorry!