Posts Tagged ‘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.

Read Full Post »



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

Read Full Post »




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.

Read Full Post »


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.















Read Full Post »




We are entering turbulence, says the captain.

This plane does not do well with turbulence.


His voice crackles over the loudspeaker

just after the plane has begun to jostle in the sky.


I am not particularly worried about the plane.

The young engineer next to me in 14E has already


assured me that when considering safety factors,

the designers will double what is actually needed.


I am more worried about the captain’s choice of words.

It matters what we say to each other and how.


The ride will be turbulent, that would have sufficed.

Or perhaps, The ride will be turbulent,


it’s nothing to be concerned about.

The toddler in row 11 is screaming.


She would not feel better, regardless what

the captain said. Perhaps it is the mother in me


that longs to disregard the safety belt sign and go comfort her—

not so much for the child’s sake, but for her mother’s,


she looks so careworn and tired. I want to tell her,

It’s okay. This is just a short chapter.


I settle for a nod and a smile.

The truth is the world is full of turbulence.


The truth is it’s hard to hear anyone cry.

The truth is our work in the world


begins with comforting the people next to us,

strangers only until we take the first step.



Read Full Post »







First it was the woman

who waved at me

through the spring snow.

I didn’t take it personally,

her kindness, more like

an accident that I happened

to be there. Then it was

the woman who forgave me

for being confused

about when I was supposed

to arrive. Then the woman

who hugged me for no reason

at all. And the man who

looked up and smiled.

And the friend who

played me a tune.

Kindnesses inside every hour.

All day. It was like stumbling

on a word I’ve never heard before,

and suddenly—how could I

have missed it all this time—

it’s everywhere.

Read Full Post »





Where yesterday

there were no morels

today there are—


dozens of them,

small blond bouquets

in the grass.


I think about kindnesses.

How sometimes

they arrive


out of what seems

an absence.

How in that absence


it seems impossible

to believe that kindness

will ever return.


How delicious

the morels were tonight

in the cream,


so earthy, so rich,

so generous.

Read Full Post »




perhaps by wind,

the first penstemon

entered the field

and flowered

and cast its seeds

and they flowered

and cast their seeds

and now the field

is full of tall, lovely

purple blooms—

look what one small

accidental beauty

can do.


Read Full Post »

How We Learn to Fly


for Deb D’Angelo


In a recent dream, I flew—

not so much for pleasure,

though it was that, also, rather

because it was clearly the next

thing to do.


On the trail, I did, perhaps, fly

for a moment,

my body spread into the air

above the rocky slope.

There was, maybe, a second

of curiousness—an inkling of thrill.


But then the horrible fact

of gravity. I did not want

to open my eyes for a long,

long time. I did not cry then,

not when I saw my hands,

blackened and bloodied.

Not when my shoulder

refused to rise. Though it hurt,

I knew it would all be fine.


I did not cry at the sting of soap

and water in the library sink.

I did not mind the stares

of the patrons confused

by the sight of my ripped up tights.


The librarian offered to tend to me,

finding me salve and applying

the bandages, fitting them

to angles they didn’t want to fit.

It was the look in her eyes that did it,

the gentleness, the warmth.


As she hugged me

like a daughter, like a friend,

like a human, I sobbed into her hair,

so moved by her kindness,

how she cared for me with such tender hands—

and for a moment, I swear I flew,

unafraid of how I would land.

Read Full Post »

A woman walks down the street.
It does not matter her name,

the color of her hair, her age,
or how she votes. What matters

is if you would go help her rise
when she trips and twists her ankle.

What matters is if you look openly
into her eyes when she is seeking yours.

What matters is if you see how she,
like you, is holding onto something dead

and has not quite yet managed to let
it go. There are cultures where people

greet each other, strangers and lovers,
by saying, I am the other you.

What matters is if, when you see the woman
walking on the street, you believe this is true.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: