‘Kindness’ by Naomi Shihab

03 Jan


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.


Posted by on January 3, 2015 in Uncategorized


13 responses to “‘Kindness’ by Naomi Shihab

  1. babyjill7...Marilyn Griffin

    January 3, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    beautiful truths…and to know you are healing …is wonderful…

  2. Hilary Bryant

    January 3, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    Happy New Year to you too – hope the recovery is going well and that you are pain free now

    • mybeautfulthings

      January 3, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      Just a bit achey now and getting over the nausea. Every day I feel better and better! Thank you for your ongoing concern and love 🙂

  3. calvin

    January 3, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    Naomi Shihab’s poetry solicits a response, words are like brush strokes used to release an embedded image. Fantastical at first, But deliciously attainable by the end. Who could resist falling into the premise? I can’t.

    • mybeautfulthings

      January 3, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      This is the first of hers that I have read and was very moved by it. I will look for more of her work. Thank you for calling in. It is always lovely to see your crow waiting for an answer! 🙂

      • calvin

        January 3, 2015 at 4:48 pm

        Okay, using LOL, which I never do, but my crow would hash it out he’d be a Bald Eagle. There is no arguing with an ‘ole fool’.

  4. john zande

    January 3, 2015 at 11:57 am


    • mybeautfulthings

      January 3, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      Very glad you like it too. 🙂

      • john zande

        January 3, 2015 at 4:40 pm

        Liked it, and have already used it! 🙂

  5. hjbryant

    January 3, 2015 at 9:56 am

    How beautiful, and how true

    • mybeautfulthings

      January 3, 2015 at 11:40 am

      I thought so too. I’m so glad I pre loaded the blog for a few days, each post is pleasing me anew each day! Wish I ‘d set up the whole month!
      Thank you so much for your card. Happy new year to you and L. xx


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