Thursday, November 12, 2015

Inspiring Kindness

Drizzly Day by sea turtle

"Raise your words, not your voice. 
  It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder."
                ~ Rumi

Thanks to Rebecca Davis' challenge this month, we've been raising our words in the name of kindness. Of course, kindness is recognized by many other names as well— generosity, thoughtfulness, patience, love, compassion, helpfulness, forgiveness....

I've already received several lovely poetic expressions of kindness from Ditty of the Month Club participants. This week I featured three poems by Jan Godown Annino, Diane Mayr, and my own, in honor of Veterans Day. My hope is that I'll receive many more, because... well... they make me happy, plain and simple.

Browsing through personal favorites I've collected over the years, I discovered quite a few poems on the subject of kindness. I'm sharing three of them today, so that you, too, can be inspired.

Do you have a favorite kindness poem?  I'd love to know what it is in the comments.

Saint Francis and The Birds 
     by Seamus Heaney

When Francis preached love to the birds
They listened, fluttered, throttled up
Into the blue like a flock of words
                    Read the rest here.
                    Listen to a 1967 recording of Seamus Heaney reading his poem here.

The Patience of Ordinary Things
     by Pat Schneider

It is a kind of love, is it not?

How the cup holds the tea,

How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,

How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes

Or toes. How soles of feet know

Where they’re supposed to be.

                    Read the rest here.

And this one from one of my very favorite poets, Janet S. Wong (used by permission of the author), from the award-winning The Rainbow Hand: Poems About Mothers and Children (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 1999):

The Rainbow Hand 
     by Janet S. Wong 

how the mother loves her baby,
how she holds him
with strong arms,
so the sun 
can warm his face
so his bones will grow straight.

Look how she runs with him,
to send a cool breeze
through his toes, 

how she makes 
an umbrella 
of her arms
when the rain
starts to fall.

And when lightning 
flashes bright,
too bright,
see how she slips her hand
over his eyes,
her fingers curved

like a rainbow.

Wishing you rainbows of kindness...

          Michelle xo

This week's Poetry Friday roundup is being hosted by kindhearted Bridget Magee at wee words for wee ones.


  1. These are wonderful, Michelle. I love the way Janet Wong describes the mother, the fingers forming a rainbow. There must be others, but the only kindness poem I can think of is the one by Naomi Shihab Nye that begins: "Before you know what kindness really is/you must lose things." Enjoy.

    1. Yes, that's a beautiful poem, Linda. I was introduced to it on Tara's blog a couple weeks ago.

  2. These are lovely, especially Janet's beautiful offering. Thanks for sharing, and I'm sorry I can't think of one to add.

    1. I rarely can come up with titles on the spot either, Sally. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment anyway!

  3. Janet's poem is sublimely beautiful. So nice to read it again here, Michelle. Thanks for sharing the others too -- both new to me and much appreciated. :)

  4. Those are three lovely poems. I couldn't pass this by without giving it a try. I love the poem in the Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations by Eileen Spinelli, How to Love your Little Corner of the World. I'll just share the last four lines, "Share a book,/ Take a walk./ Someone's lonely?/ Stop and talk." Isn't that wonderful? And I can offer a quote from a poem of mine: "This Halloween, be like the grandmother tree./ Gather the rain, slow the wind, your roots entwined./ Let your children bloom and thrive, safe in your care." The link to my poem is: I'll ruminate more about kindness. Perhaps I have a poem in me, more on point. XOXO

    1. Eileen Spinelli's poem IS wonderful, Brenda. As is yours! I followed your link to read it in full. Such a lovely image– the grandmother tree watching over the little ones, roots entwined.

  5. Heartwarming, Michelle! How about "Count That Day Lost" by George Eliot, maybe "The Illiterate" by William Meredith, "Miss Lillian Sees Leprosy for the First Time" by Jimmy Carter, and "A Short Testament" by Anne Porter?

    1. Knew I could count on you for a few, Tabatha! :) I am especially taken with "The Illiterate" and the one by Jimmy Carter– so straightforward and tender.

  6. this is wonderful so many likes I really love just Beautiful

  7. All of these poems make me happy, Michelle. Here in Tucson we have a grassroots kindness organization called Ben's Bells. Here's a link to their website:
    I wrote this poem in honor of this amazing organization:
    Let Kindness Ring (An Ode to Ben's Bells)
    by Bridget Magee



    1. What an incredible organization, Bridget! Thanks for introducing me to Ben's Bells. Your poem suits their mission beautifully.

  8. Nice choices. I wish I could add to this, but don't have anything to add. Thanks for the poems.

    1. No worries, Rosi. I'm just glad, as always, that you stopped by. :)

  9. A great poem about kindness is Eavan Boland's "Quarantine," however, it is also one of the saddest poems I know.

    1. Sigh. Even with the warning, the tears come. Thanks for sharing, Diane.

  10. The Rainbow Hand is a lovely collection. Janet's poetry is so inspiring. All the poems you've shared for this challenge are so touching. Thank you for spreading the kindness!

    1. Backatcha, Linda! One of many talents poets have... spreading the kindness.

  11. Thank you for sharing these, Michelle. I love all of them, especially Janet's. "The Patience of Ordinary Things" really made me think!

    1. Thanks, Becky. I love the notion that things, too, can be kind. It makes me appreciate what I have and inspires me to be a kinder, gentler person myself.

  12. The rainbow hand image in the poem & from the cover art, is so comforting.
    I appreciate reading this Janet Wong celebration of perfect love.

    For my response to this kind request, Michelle -

    By the poet Bracha Serri (translated by Shlomit Yaacobi) in THE FLAG OF CHILDHOOD, Poems from the MIddle East, selected by Naomi Shihab Nye -

    "Word and another word
    prayer and another prayer
    and our heart is one
    we embroider in hope
    with the sisterhood of workers
    a map of love
    to tear down the borders..."
    from "Thread by Thread"
    c. Bracha Serri

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Jan. "A map of love/to tear down the borders..." such a powerful wish! After last night's tragedy in Paris, the message is stronger than ever.

  13. Michelle--these are absolutely gorgeous. Thank you for sharing them.

  14. Thanks for sharing these, Michelle. They're all beautiful.

    I'll share my grandmother's poem that she wrote when her daughter, my aunt, was expecting her first child—my grandmother's first grandchild. So she would've written this around 1949. I shared it on my blog in May of 2014 for Mother's Day.

    A Mother-To-Be

    Dear little, sweet little, mother-to-be,
    Come closer, and harken
    There’s tidings for thee
    Of the dear sacred treasure
    So close to your heart
    Your loved ones have learned
    And we each seek a part
    In making your happier, happier still
    Ere long days of waiting your dream be fulfilled.

    In each silken package
    With cellophane trim,
    A wee bonny gift
    Awaits her, awaits him;
    But brave little mother,
    That soon is to be
    This tribute of love
    We are bringing to thee.

    There’s no greater mission
    That you could be sent
    Than this lovely mission
    On which you’re intent.
    This wee bit of heaven
    That tugs at your heart
    Will mold you and make you
    Of heaven a part.
    Dear little, sweet little, mother-to-be
    May God send his angels to watch over thee.

    —Edith Rowe Wood

    1. Aw Penny, that gave me chills. So lovely! Thanks for sharing. :)

  15. Michelle, thanks for the Rumi quote and Janet's poem. It is gratitude week on Twitter so your post fits beautifully.

    Opening line from Kindness by Yusef Komunyakaa
    When deeds splay before us
    precious as gold & unused chances
    stripped from the whine-bone,
    we know the moment kindheartedness
    walks in.

    1. Beautiful, Carol– thanks for sharing. I was chuffed to discover that my subconscious knew what it was doing when I posted this on World Kindness Day!

  16. Your posts are dangerous time enhancers because I return to the links later!
    And am so rewarded.
    Appreciations to you MIchelle, for now having been able to look at the Belfast poets via Seamus Heaney.
    I visited several pages, they felt like cozy rooms, at the site for Pat Schneider. Want to put some of her books on my list.
    And I had already noted for mysel the must-have The Rainbow Hand.
    Michelle, your pages here are like a nourishing workshop.