On our fridge (photo attached) we’ve long had Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem, Kindness — I read it often because I want to be kinder and I want to live in a world that embodies greater levels of human kindness. I want us to be kinder toward each other, especially when that “other” is different from ourselves.
I was first introduced to Naomi Shihab Nye by way of Roger Housden and his wonderful book Ten Poems to Open Your Heart. This was the book too that introduced me to Housden and his presentations and commentaries (of sorts) on selected poems.
And, until yesterday, when I pulled Housden’s book off the shelf, I’d forgotten that the Naomi Shihab Nye poem he includes / reflects on in his book is Kindness.
It was a delight to re-read this chapter having just heard Naomi Shihab Nye in an On Being conversation with Krista Tippett, which aired on the 28th July 2016. The conversation was posted under the title: Your Life is a Poem, and you can listen to it, or download it here.
“Growing up, the poet Naomi Shihab Nye lived in Ferguson, Missouri and on the road between Ramallah and Jerusalem. Her father was a refugee Palestinian journalist, and through her poetry, she carries forward his hopeful passion, his insistence, that language must be a way out of cycles of animosity.”