Saturday, July 28, 2012

Be Kind : Poem In Your Post

Be Kind

Not merely because Henry James said
there were but four rules of life—
be kind be kind be kind be kind—but
because it's good for the soul, and,
what's more, for others, it may be
that kindness is our best audition
for a worthier world, and, despite
the vagueness  and uncertainty of
its recompense, a bird may yet  wander
into a bush before our very houses,
gratitude may not manifest itself in deeds
entirely equal to our own, still there's
weather arriving from every direction,
the feasts of famine and feasts of plenty
may yet prove to be one,  so why not
allow the little sacrificial squinches and
squigulas to prevail? Why not inundate
the particular world with minute particulars?
Dust's certainly all our fate, so why not
make it the happiest possible dust,
a detritus of blessedness? Surely
the hedgehog, furling and unfurling
into its spiked little ball, knows something
that, with gentle touch and unthreatening
tone, can inure to our benefit, surely the wicked
witches of our childhood have died and,
from where they are buried, a great kindness
has eclipsed their misdeeds. Yes, of course,
in the end so much comes down to privilege
and its various penumbras, but too much
of our unruly animus has already been
wasted on reprisals, too much of the
unblessed air is filled with smoke from
undignified fires. Oh friends, take
whatever kindness you can find
and be profligate in its expenditure:
It will not drain your limited resources,
I assure you, it will not leave you vulnerable
and unfurled, with only your sweet little claws
to defend yourselves, and your wet little noses,
and your eyes to the ground, and your little feet.

                                                - Michael Blumenthal

Once again, Eden's Outcasts prompts my choice.  Bronson Alcott was a noted Transcendentalist philosopher and conversationalist who consorted with - among others - Emerson, Thoreau, and even Henry James Sr.  So it seemed apropos to choose a poem directly espousing a particular philosophical point of view, and one referencing the venerable James (Jr., I suspect).

I've long admired Michael Blumenthal's poems, and you will too if you check out his page on or on The Poetry Foundation/Poetry Magazine website.

Which poem(s) moved you this week?  Share them here, and I'll be sure to respond!


1 comment:

Parrish Lantern said...

The Counsellors - Chris McCabe

Every counsellor needs to be counselled.

A man becomes aware of his own mind, cauliflowers glass quadrants – sees the roots – like a wet wart.

He talks to the counsellor who listens (he is paid to listen). The counsellor notes that this man has reached an impasse. Unsure how to proceed the counsellor speaks to his counsellor. He echoes the impasse.

The counsellor’s counsellor misfires a typo into the monitor : & continues: he doesn’t want to think what could become.

All the combined impasses could make a fence across the globe – thousands of men’s problems mysterious as the workings of global finance. Nobody knows where they go. Each impasse. The echoes.

The man doesn’t care about that. He just talks & by increments he starts to feel a little better, so that one day he leaves.

The counsellor is left with the impasse – it has to go somewhere. He picks up a phone.

His counsellor turns on the screen.

And makes a call.

A call.

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