You know I love a good poem. And this week, I thought a lot about one of my favorites, “Small Kindnesses” by Danusha Laméris. It’s the kind of poem that revives you, that reminds you every moment is an opportunity to create something good.
I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead — you first,” “I like your hat.”
— Danusha Laméris, 2019
I love this poem… so much. Thank you so much for sharing it! XO
This is such a GREAT poem, Kathy. And small kindnesses . . . are really what get us through our days, y’know? XO
Thank you. Sharing this was a small kindness.
This really is a great poem. And I think—even though it undoubtedly was true in 2019—it’s even more true now than it was when it was written. The world really needs those little bits of kindness right now.