|Photo: Lisa L. Wiedmeier|
At the beginning of this month, Rebecca M. Davis challenged us to write poems about acts of kindness. What a joy it's been to wrap myself in warm, cozy feelings all month long! We can all benefit from a daily dose of kindness poetry, don't you think?
Besides the poems contributed for this challenge (which we'll get to shortly), a couple weeks ago I shared three of my favorite published poems about kindness—
- "St. Francis and the Birds" by Seamus Heaney
- "The Patience of Ordinary Things" by Pat Schneider, and
- "The Rainbow Hand" by Janet S. Wong
I also asked for recommendations. Thanks to Linda Baie, Brenda Harsham, Tabatha Yeatts, Bridget Magee, Diane Mayr, Jan Godown Annino, Penny Parker Klostermann, and Carol Varsalona for obliging me with these beauties:
- "Kindness" by Naomi Shihab Nye
- "Grandmother Tree" by Brenda Davis Harsham
- "How to Love Your Little Corner of the World" by Eileen Spinelli
- "Count That Day Lost" by George Eliot
- "The Illiterate" by William Meredith
- "Miss Lillian Sees Leprosy for the First Time" by Jimmy Carter
- "A Short Testament" by Anne Porter
- "Quarantine" by Eaven Boland
- "Thread by Thread" by Bracha Serri, translated by Shlomit Yaacobi and Nava Mizrahhi
- "A Mother-To-Be" by Edith Rowe Wood, and
- "Kindness" by Yusef Komunyakaa
|Reminders from the dashboard (random acts of kindness) |
Jill Allyn Stafford
Kindness is free.
Kindness is contagious. Kindness is powerful.
In the words of SOHO artist Martin Kornfeld:
|Photo: Heath Brandon|
If we all do one random act of kindness daily, we just might set the world in the right direction.
~ Martin Kornfeld
I hope you enjoy these acts of poetry kindness, ordered (more or less) from youth to adulthood.
All poems are copyright 2015, and published with permission of the authors, who control all rights.
by Kristi Dee Veitenheimer
Mama scolded me this morning.
I got syrup in my pigtails,
but I didn’t mean to.
Now I can’t have syrup
Teacher punished me this morning.
I was eating paste,
but it was just a little.
Now I can’t use paste
Penny ignored me this morning.
She always plays with me at recess,
but she said I couldn’t.
I don’t belong in the club
You sat beside me on the steps this morning.
I was sad and alone,
but you put your arm around my shoulders.
And I don't feel so bad
by Elizabeth Steinglass
When the hurts pile up
and I can’t hold them all,
I retreat to my room
where the tears start to fall.
There he finds me alone,
jumbled up in my bed,
and sorts out my mess
with a nudge of his head.
by Suzy Levinson
squirming to and fro.
Won't get far inside my jar...
Should I let you go?
sitting on a tree.
Ever seen a leaf so green?
Take a bite. You're free!
by Michelle Kogan
Dear Darling Critters,
Though you require much
you ask only for our touch,
Our glance, our voices,
caring little for choices.
A cricket, delish!
A worm, the connoisseur’s dish!
Exercise, pooh pooh,
a living room walk, yes–ooh!
A change of water,
nah, to you it don’t matter.
Your greens contagious,
your character’s outrageous!
Thank you sincerely,
Mom, Dad, Sis, and Bro Dearly
KINDNESS ON THE BREEZE
by Janie Lazo
A tiny home of twigs and moss
A magical retreat
A tiny tyke would spread his wings
To fly- his greatest feat.
But on the breeze he faltered
and soon fluttered to the ground
Stunned he lay in silence-
seeing danger all around.
His mother - in a tizzy-
quickly flitted to and fro
But her baby bird was helpless-
where he was - she could not go.
Soon small hands were wrapped around him
as he lifted toward the sky.
Little feet stood tall on tiptoes
as small arms reached way up high.
He was gently placed inside his nest-
all snug and safe and sound
A gentle act of kindness
in a world where love abounds.
DIVIDE IT UP
by Jan Godown Annino
One for me
one for you
One for me
two for you
One for me
three for you
One for me
four for you
You have ten
I have four
You got much more
That is wrong
Yes, that is wrong
I have much more
My heart is full
My arms are wide
My feet are dancing
EYE TO EYE
by Alayne Kay Christian
Inside a cardboard lean-to
a child crouches, wrapping arms around legs,
tapping tingling toes
to warm them.
“Change to spare?” her mother begs.
A boy stares,
his mother tugs.
His arms reach out
with cocoa and coat.
A grinning boy shivers his way home.
by Jessica Bigi
SEED FOR THOUGHT
by Brenda Davis Harsham
planting milkweed seed
for a monarch butterfly
we've never met.
My daughter and I
dig a trench along
a wooded path,
where just a bit of light comes in.
It's place where a caterpillar
might live its days in
munching its favorite food,
until it winds hope about itself.
Then it can be still,
listening to the wind
and the dog walkers,
the trail joggers
and the children finding pebbles
among the leaves and earth
in this green place of wishes.
Kindness is hoping it grows.
Kindness is carrying water in two hands,
sloshed onto colorful sneakers,
dribbled onto a rumpled trench.
Kindness is wishing all winter
for not-too-cold, not-too-dry,
for that seed to remember
the loving hands that patted
the soil into place.
Kindness is imagining the world
orange and yellow,
full of fluttering wings,
Without a care for oneself.
GET WELL CARDS
by Lana Wayne Koehler
The card read, “Sincerely, William Walters”
I met him briefly
At the skate park
I was twelve.
The card read, “Sincerely, William”
He couldn’t visit
Me in the hospital
I was sick
The card read, “William”
It was many weeks
Since I’d seen him
I was lonely
The card read, “Will”
I knew who he was
By the cards he sent
He was my friend.
KINDNESS & COMEUPPANCE
Bully elbows; Victim’s lunch tray topples.
Milk & mashed potatoes mingle.
Bystanders gather, giggling & guffawing.
Upstander bends to help. Straightens. Defends.
Drowned out by cocky murmur.
“Later, Bro!” Bully sneers, elbowing his departure.
Errant elbow makes it way through the crowd,
Landing on VP—
Lands Bully in detention.
JUST BECAUSE: A HAIKU SEQUENCE
by Diane Mayr
office coat closet
a heart-shaped chocolate
in each pocket
leaving a broken
flower pot for the toad
endured with smiles
green tomato relish
at her door
to save suet for them
by Janie Lazo
'Twas a joyous celebration but a day I was to dread.
Standing silent on the sidelines watched intently- nothing said.
I alone must brave these waters feeling cursed and judged anew
Twas the day that my first daughter walked the aisle to say "I do"
In attendance was her father, his new bride and friends galore.
Once a group that I was part of- but alas- that was no more.
As the wedding party gathered for their photos- snap- snap - snap
It was as they didn't see me - didn't want me - that was that.
Deep inside my heart was breaking as I looked on feigning joy.
They were happy - that's what mattered- self control I must employ.
So I fought my tears in silence- tears for all that I had lost
I had left but could not comprehend that this could be the cost.
As regret flowed through my being sorrow shook me to my core.
This one day just represented pain the future held in store.
Then I felt it- oh so gently-first a grasp and then a squeeze.
As my friend reached out in kindness to my heart she gave reprieve.
So we stood there on the sideline hand in hand to face this day.
With her strength I was emboldened- all my fears had gone away.
You can do this- Liny whispered- everything will be ok.
And this kindness still is with me every step along my way.
A WOMAN CRIED
by B.J. Lee
A woman cried on the subway train.
It, somehow, made me teary-eyed
to think the world could see her pain!
A woman cried.
I’m sure she fought till she could hide
inside her room, yet couldn’t restrain;
the comfort of her bed, denied.
What made her break? What could explain?
A toddler moved to sit beside
her, offering her his candy cane.
The woman cried.
by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
Taste of grit, sweat, survival.
Smell of smoke, blood, and fear.
In a pocket of silence
you stayed by my side
on a bad day gone horribly wrong.
by Mindy Gars Dolandis
Scruffy and dressed in fatigues
he stood on the corner and ranted
as people hurried by and looked away.
“I’m hungry, so HUNGRY!” he yelled,
and suddenly caught the eyes
of two young women lunching at a café.
“I willingly fought for my country,”
now it’s turned its back on me.
I don’t have a home, a job or money to eat!”
“Come here,” said one of the girls
and motioned to the man.
“The table beside us is empty, please have a seat.”
My dad was in Nam,” she said
with a sweet, compassionate smile.
“Here’s the menu, order anything you’d like.”
“I’ll have a burger and fries,”
he said as he bowed his head,
and quickly wiped a tear from under his eye.
Angels who walk among us
have no harp, no halo or wings,
but they always make this earth a heavenly place.
They sometimes save the day,
and sometimes save a life
with a kind and compassionate heart and amazing grace.
by Linda Baie
Here was a prescription of hugs.
My husband, in a closed place,
among others the same.
They all missed loved ones,
yet didn’t know what they missed.
They wandered, always searching.
The staff touched,
along with the meds, spilled trays, angry words.
I was there every day.
They gave me hugs, too.
It’s not a desk job -
singing songs, talking,
walking to the garden,
walking down the hall, walking up the hall -
no step-count, but I bet it was more than ten thousand.
Those smiles, the soft words,
meant I could go home to sleep
till the next day.
by Kathleen Mazurowski
It doesn’t take much.
Smile, nod of head, acknowledge,
Welcome and listen
by Jessica Bigi
Tucking inside of
Reaching across contusions
We are one
In hand with Angels
Of lonely hearts
Fit so perfectly
Inside of each other’s
We are Love
Inspired to write a kindness poem of your own?
You have until Monday, November 30th to send your poem to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com, or use the contact form in the sidebar to the right.
Participants in this month's challenge will be automatically entered to win one copy each of THIS ORQ. (HE CAVE BOY.) and THIS ORQ. (HE SAY UGH.) by David Elliott with illustrations by Lori Nichols, published by Boyds Mills Press. (One entry per participant, not per poem.)
Alternatively, you may enter the giveaway by commenting below. If you contribute a poem and comment below you will earn two entries in total. Comments must be received no later than Tuesday, December 1st.
The winner will be determined by Random.org and announced next Friday, December 6th, when Renée LaTulippe will be here with the next installment of her popular lyrical language series.
I'll be taking some time off for the holidays, but rest assured, the Ditty of the Month Club will be back in 2016 with more fantastic authors, editors, and books!