Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Salt and Kindness

I've bought some fancy salt to make chocolate and salted caramel cupcakes for R's bday party this weekend.  It comes in the prettiest little container.  So then I thought, I will find a poem about salt to go along with this.  And ended up finding one on kindness.  (There is the mention of salt in the first stanza).  It's a work day for me, so I must dash off.  Have a beautiful day.

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. 


  1. This is one of my all time favorite poems and also poet. Your site is one of my all time favorite blogs and actually the only one I go to regularly. I very much appreciate it.

    Thank you for all the creativity and thought and kindness you wrap up in it to send it out into the world for us who say, "it is what we have been looking for".

  2. I was excited about the salted cupcakes so was blindsided by that poem...It took the wind out of me. It was exactly the courage I needed. Thanks for that.

  3. with thanks to you both - these words mean a lot to me.


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