You never know.The body of night openslike a river, it drifts upward like white smoke,like so many wrappings of mist.And on the hillside two deer are walking alongjust as though this wasn'tthe owned, tilled earth of todaybut the past.I did not see them the next day, or the next,but in my mind's eye -there they are, in the long grass,like two sisters.This is the earnest work. Each of us is givenonly so many mornings to do it -to look around and lovethe oily fur of our lives,the hoof and the grass-stained muzzle.Days I don't do thisI feel the terror of idleness,like a red thirst.Death isn't just an idea.When we die the body breaks openlike a river;the old body goes on, climbing the hill.–Mary Oliver
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
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.–Naomi Shihab Nye