Kindness

Before you know what kindness really is

This bold first line immediately makes me want to know how
I can know what kindness really is! Patty Schlutt, grade 15

you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.

This poem is full of sweet little truths like this one. Andrew De Haan, age 22

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.

These are all people like you, looking for kindness. I like the details
of the maize and chicken. Patty Schlutt, age 15.

 
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.

I like the relationship being drawn between grief and love, as if you must lose your own selfishness first, before you learn to appreciate others' love, and find true love for others within yourself. Kara Madden, age 22

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.

Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.