Kindness

Today, a wise friend read this poem to a group I was with, unaware that she was actually reading it just for me.  As she read the poignant lines, I felt my heart-strings pull before tears I could not control, spilled out of my eyes, subsequently ruining my mascara.  Poet Naomi Shihab Nye has a message of kindness that perhaps will resonate with you too.  For this reason, I feel compelled to share it here.  For you.

Kindness  By Naomi Shihab 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.

 

 

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Each day is Valentine’s Day…

I totally heart February. It’s a fun month for me as I’ve never been lacking in love, admirers or friends. In a month that celebrates love, albeit Hallmark created or not, I’m all about it. The truth is, for me, everyday is Valentine’s Day. I say I love you as an automatic tail to “goodbye” on every phone call. It’s awkward when it’s the guy from the timeshare, but usually it is a loved one, and I never want to miss an opportunity to remind my friend, family member or lover of their place in my life.

February is also in my heart as the birth month of one my soul mates in this life. She is exactly 2 months older than me, a fact I never let her forget. Since she is also immeasurably more wise and more responsible than I, it makes sense that she came into the world before me. In fact, she probably did so to show me that I could come, the world is ok, and it would be fun to join her too- so I did, 8 weeks later. Today she celebrates her birthday. I love and admire her and am so happy to be in this life with her, again. (I say again because I’m pretty sure she and I travel together in every life. Wink.) Norina, Happy Birthday angel. I love you.

February brings with it clear, sunny yet crisp days, and chilly, still need the extra blanket on the bed nights. Its the last leg of our privileged Los Angeles winter. All my life here I’ve heard people, especially from the east coast, scowl at our tame Southern California weather, even going so far as to claim there are no seasons here. That’s just not true. When you are born and raised here, like me, you can definitely feel, smell and see the clear distinction in our four seasons. In February, it’s still boots and scarves and hot chocolate mornings, but you know that a shift will be arriving soon. This is the tail end of winter, right before spring shows up with her rain and budding flowers.

February is also black history month, but I believe it is best affiliated with pink and red hearts, first dates, passionate nights (if you’re lucky), anniversaries, love, and lovers. In this spirit, for the month of February, I’d like to post some of my favorite love themed songs, poems, quotes, and generalized sentiments that love inspires when it arrives, when it leaves, when we remember it, and when it lasts. Please enjoy my first treasure, by Roethke, who in this amazing prose, fondly remembers a lover… Besos! Dre

I Knew A Woman By Theodore Roethke

I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,
When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;
Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:
The shapes a bright container can contain!
Of her choice virtues only gods should speak,
Or English poets who grew up on Greek
(I’d have them sing in chorus, cheek to cheek.)
How well her wishes went! She stroked my chin,
She taught me Turn, and Counter-turn, and stand;
She taught me Touch, that undulant white skin:
I nibbled meekly from her proffered hand;
She was the sickle; I, poor I, the rake,
Coming behind her for her pretty sake
(But what prodigious mowing did we make.)
Love likes a gander, and adores a goose:
Her full lips pursed, the errant note to seize;
She played it quick, she played it light and loose;
My eyes, they dazzled at her flowing knees;
Her several parts could keep a pure repose,
Or one hip quiver with a mobile nose
(She moved in circles, and those circles moved.)
Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay:
I’m martyr to a motion not my own;
What’s freedom for? To know eternity.
I swear she cast a shadow white as stone.
But who would count eternity in days?
These old bones live to learn her wanton ways:
(I measure time by how a body sways.)