Our lovely neighbour was in China last year and brought us back a beautiful picture of the character which means kindness. We had it framed before Christmas but have only just put it up. What a lovely piece – thank you, S.
I have posted this poem before but it seems to me that in today’s world we all need kindness, for ourselves and for others. I love how the poet captures that awful sinking moment when you think something is lost, those moments when you can’t quite believe that the rest of the world is going on as normal, those moments when something in the news just takes your breath away but kindness from a loved one or from a stranger can make your day work again.
Kindness by Naomi Shibab 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 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.