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Posts Tagged ‘kindness’

Of Strangers

 

 

And so it is that kindness stays with me,

the way the woman in the store smiles at me

when she can tell I might start to cry.

 

I carry her smile in my pocket all day,

like a coin, something I carry everywhere

with no effort, but sometimes forget, and then,

 

when my fingers again find the ridged edges,

when I feel the weight of the coin in my palm,

I am struck by how something so small

 

carries value, carries meaning. All day

the smile stays with me. All day, I touch

it again and again, feel how its weight

 

tips some invisible scale, how I remember

again to say hello to fate and fall in love.

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Dear Friends,

A week or so ago, I sent a poem titled Secret Agents, which outlined the story of a woman I have not yet met (Sherry Richert Belul) who sent me $5 in the mail as a reminder that abundance is everywhere. Since then, a small secret agent revolution has been happening, and Sherry and I have launched Secret Agents of Change!

On Feb. 17, Random Acts of Kindness Day, we will start our Secret Agent Challenge: Operation Love–seven days of simple “assignments” that spread secret joy, good-will and kindness in the world around you. Will you join us?

Here is a link to a video in which we talk about how we met through small acts of kindness and how we decided to create the Secret Agents of Change.

And here is a link to join our Facebook group, which is how we will be giving out the secret missions.

If you are eager to be part of the Secret Agent Challenge but don’t belong to Facebook, then email me. I am sure we can come up with some way to get you involved and in the loop! It’s a kindness revolution!

Rosemerry

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And after the boy

hugs his sister

and tells her

she did a great job,

 

after he wipes

her tears and holds

her and wraps her

in his awkward arms,

 

after she leans

into him, their

sapling trunks

sloping toward

 

each other,

I want to tell him

how proud I am

of the ways

 

he is growing,

want to affirm

how much depends

on love, want

 

to say I see his tenderness,

but the soil beneath

them is unstable,

precious, and my voice

 

is full of heavy clouds,

so I wait until

they sway apart,

then I walk closer

 

and manage to say

through invisible rain,

It’s time.

Let’s go home.

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for Jack Ridl and all the rakers

 

 

Pulling the rake through the cottonwood leaves,

I think of Jack in Michigan pulling his rake

through beech, birch, oak and ash leaves.

I stop to lean on my rake and I think

of him stopping to lean on his rake

and talk to the gods. I’m not so sure I believe

in gods, but I believe in Jack. I believe in kindness.

I believe in friendship that grows despite distance.

I believe that these rhythms of raking and making piles

bring us closer together—all of us rakers, all of us

who step into the slow cadence of pull and reach,

and pull and reach. There is something unifying

in this annual act of tidying the world. Every day

the news is full of all we can’t set right. But we

can drag the rake through the yard so that we

can see the path again. And we can set the rake

aside and stare at the sky and think of all

the people we love and all the people

we’ll never know who join us in this simple act,

reach and pull, reach and pull, reach and pull,

the sound of metal tines grating, the beat

of our own hearts scraping against our chests.

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Kindness is invincible.

—Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 11.18.ix

 

 

And though I barely know her,

she met me on the street to give me

a small bottle of perfume. Scent of rose,

amber, white musk, scent of friendship

just beginning, scent of how we might choose

to meet each other—with the wisdom

of blossoms, opening. Already

I’m dreaming of ways to continue

her mischievous generosity,

imagining how each act will carry

a hint of citrus, rose, precious wood.

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Preferably Purple

 

 

 

 

I need nothing more today

than a bit of string—not

to hold things together, no,

but to wrap around my wrist

and touch each time I need

to remember to be kind.

Which is all day. The trick

is remembering to touch it,

remembering the invitation

to choose what is kind.

A fierce wind blows.

All day, I imagine I am kite,

that I am the one who holds

it on a slender string,

the one who eventually lets it go.

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Kindness

Consider the tulip,
how it rises every spring
out of the same soil,
which is, of course,
not at all the same soil,
but new. How long ago
someone’s hands planted a bulb
and gave to this place
a living scrap of beauty.

Consider the six red petals,
the yellow at the center,
the soft green rubber of the stem,
how it bows to the world. How,
the longer we sit beside it,
the more we bow to it.

It is something like kindness,
is it not? The way someone plants
in you a bit of beauty—a kind word,
perhaps, or a touch, the gift
of their time or their smile.
And years later, in the soil that is you,
it emerges again, pushing aside
the dead leaves, insisting on beauty,
a celebration of the one who planted it,
the one who perceives it, and
the fertile place where it has grown.

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the wind tugs the leaves

off the aspen trees, many

before they’re golden—

 

children, I say, I love you,

and kiss their green ears

their green heads as I send

 

them to school,

tell them to go

do beautiful things

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And even as the countries aim their missiles at each other

and dangle threats and hurl names, the woman

in the hair salon gives you a deal because

in an hour you’ve shared dreams, shared fears.

And the bus driver helps you find your way.

And the tall man in the grocery store sees you reaching

for a box on the top shelf and offers to hand it to you.

Even as the congress argues and quarrels and stalls,

the little blonde boy you barely know snuggles into your lap

and tells you he loves you. Kindness continues to thrive,

Kindness breeds more kindnesses. Kindness

reminds you again that wherever you are,

you are home, that the world you most want

to live in is right here at the kitchen table,

right here on the noisy, crowded street.

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for Jack and Julie

 

Though I am running on a dirt road in Colorado

my mind is in Michigan near a small pond

where dozens of stoic frogs rest around a stone Buddha.

 

The Buddha, I suppose, would disapprove

and tell me to let my thoughts be where I am,

but there is joy in letting them run free

 

and noticing where they choose to go.

They move from the pond up the steps and into a house,

then stroll into rooms where books

 

are piled in every corner and a new puppy

begs to be loved. We all want to be loved,

don’t we, which is perhaps why my thoughts

 

continue to run to this warm kitchen where

the tea pot is always ready with hot water

and there is a half-complete drawing

 

waiting on the table. Home of music,

home where poetry comes for pizza,

home where love is abundant as frogs

 

still resting there beside the Buddha.

Odd comfort in knowing that they are still there,

those frogs, even when I am not. Odd comfort

 

in finding the mind knows how to return,

though it’s over a thousand miles from here—

like one of those stories about the dogs

 

who, against all odds, return to their owners

though they’ve been dropped off many states away.

And why not return to the voices and stories

 

of people we love—why not trust our internal maps

to bring us closer? Why not bring them with us

on the long dirt road where the sky is darkening

 

and the mile markers blur into uncertain futures?

There is so little we can trust—but this detour

feels honest, real as the smile of the Buddha

 

as the frogs leap all around, real as the scent

of paprika and cheese, real as the laughter in the kitchen

so humble and alive the whole world  leans in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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