Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

What You Must Know

I think my last post scared some people….

Or made them worry.

But here is what you must know….I can’t continue this blog without being perfectly honest, pouring my heart as if I have no audience and working through this nasty business of grief. So let’s get to it.

My Auntie Trace sent me this poem a couple weeks ago. I have spoken of Auntie Trace often- she makes the most amazing brownies and she knows kindness…through loss and through love.

I am grateful that she is there to tie my shoes and go with me everywhere like a shadow and as a friend.

Kindness: Naomi Shihab Nye- 1980:

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 everywhere like a shadow or a friend.


1 thought on “What You Must Know”

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