KINDNESS – poem by Naomi Shihab Nye

(c) Harold Blum

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 every where
like a shadow or a friend.

–Naomi Shihab Nye

About Mare Cromwell

Referred to as “The Voice of Earth Mother” by a gifted Shoshone elder, Mare Cromwell is a multi-award-winning author, nature mystic, empathic intuitive healer (with shamanic influences) and international speaker. Her books include: "The Great Mother Bible"; "Messages from Mother.... Earth Mother"; and "If I gave you God’s phone number.... Searching for Spirituality in America". She has studied with Native American teachers for twenty years and is currently on hiatus from the World Council for Wisdom Gatherings. Mare leads workshops on our Sacred Planet-Earth Mother, Womb Wisdom and Sacred Silliness and more. She is the visionary behind the Great Mother Wisdom Gathering (Maryland, 2014). She loves to be involved in Ceremony. Mare is also a former worm herder. She calls Western Maryland home. www.marecromwell.com
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4 Responses to KINDNESS – poem by Naomi Shihab Nye

  1. Joanne says:

    There is a deep sadness in this poem. It seems the poem talks about kindness to yourself.

  2. Joanne,
    My sense of the poem is that when we are completely broken open and thrown on the ground and tested to such depths, this is when kindness can find root in us in such a deeply powerful way. This level of kindness is toward ourselves and out to all whom we interact with. It’s a beautifully rich and fertile kindness fed by our suffering that we’ve walked through to arrive at the other side.

    It’s a spiritual journey and an incredible one.
    blessings!
    mare

  3. There is profound truth in this poem.

  4. Hi Virginia,
    Yes… yes… thank you for coming by!
    blessings
    mare

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