Two tastes

by Naomi Shahib Nye (from The Words Under the Words: Selected Poems)

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 every where
like a shadow or a friend.

Graham’s mum’s glühwein recipe

1 bottle of red wine

1 wine glass of brandy

2 cups boiling water

12 lumps of sugar or 6 tablespoons of honey

6 cloves

2 orange slices

a stick of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Mix it all together, bring it almost to the boil. Then (and this isn’t in Clare’s recipe) put it in a thermos jug and take it with you to a windy, darkening beach, and share.


About Lisa

I live in South Africa with my husband and two small children, doing things, thinking about things and sometimes writing about them.
This entry was posted in family and friends, inspiring words and images and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Two tastes

  1. Jeannine says:

    What a beautiful poem – and your own ‘darkening beach’ ain’t bad either!!

  2. Carrie says:

    I loved that poem. Thank you so much for sharing. So good.

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