Wednesday, May 22, 2013


The world seems a hard place right now. The news is depressing, violent acts of nature and mankind seem to vie with each other for top billing, and what I am wanting is more gentleness and kindness in the world. When spring is all about with its promise, I bury myself in the garden and studio and think about these words. Thanks Walt Pascoe for posting this poem. [Walt's website here]


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
from The Words Under the Words: Selected Poems

Prayer Flags, 2013

Tipping point, 2013


  1. Yes Naomi is a wonderful poet and a wonderful person. And your pastels complement her poem with radiance.


    1. Thank you Joan, I love this poem and need to read more of her work.

  2. I adore Naomi's poems. Thank you for this one Liz.

    And for me too, Mr, Rogers, who said "look for the helper's" In every tragic situation, there are helpers. I guess that means kindness shows up.

    1. Thank goodness for the helpers, it does help restore ones faith in humankind, thanks Leslie.

  3. Great poem, Liz, thanks for sharing. These are truly distressing times, and seeming to continue to get worse before human society shifts on its axis. Drawing ever more deeply within and getting back to basics is the only way to weather the literal and figurative storms.

    1. Great way to put it Connie as it does feel like we have shifted out of alignment. Now for the shift back to center, followed by the shift out...and so it goes. Sure makes me grateful for the studio and garden.


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