Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Today the world is deeply saddened by yet another act of senseless violence.  My friend, Amy, posted this poem on her Facebook page and it moved me to my core.  We all suffer.  As individuals.  As a society.  Our world is haunted by unfathomable violence that affects collective suffering.  Today runners of the Boston Marathon dedicated this race to another tragedy that claimed our innocents at Sandy Hook…26 miles in honor of 26 victims.  That marathon became another tragedy of innocence.    For our individual suffering…for our collective suffering…may we embrace kindness.  Thank you, Naomi, for these wise and prophetic words.


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.

                                      ~Naomi Shihab Nye 



  1. Naomi Nye, bless her for saying what we wish we could say. This is beautiful, Deborah. How lovely for this time in Boston, too. Thanks!

  2. This poem is going in my pocket. I, too, was moved by her and responded with a collection poem. We must respond with kindness. It's the only way to end this senseless violence. We have to love each other!

  3. THANK YOU for sharing this beautiful poem today.

    Did you hear about this yet?

  4. A favorite. This is lovely, Deb. Thank you for being such a powerful echo for such a powerful poem.

  5. This one is now in my pocket.....I think I will keep it after tomorrow's poem in your pocket day passes!