A Cup of Kindness Yet

I believe in the
religion of kindness.
Jan Morris 

There is far too much cruelty in the world. My wish for 2023 is that we can start replacing it with kindness, toward each other, but also toward all the other living things, including our planet.

Naomi Shihab Nye is one of my all-time favorite poets, and “Kindness” is her poem that I love the most. I’ve posted it here at Flowers for Socrates many times, but its message is one that needs repeating.

So along with the “cup o’ kindness” of Robert Burns, please take the words of her poem into your heart for the new year.

May 2023 be a shining year for you and yours.

To read Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem “Kindness” click:


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 gaze at 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.

“Kindness” from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems, © 1995 by Naomi Shihab Nye


About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Cup of Kindness Yet

  1. rafflaw says:

    Happy New Year to all!

Comments are closed.