No matter what the grief, its weight,
we are obliged to carry it.
We rise and gather momentum, the dull strength
that pushes us through crowds.
And then the young boy gives me directions
so avidly. A woman holds the glass door open,
waits patiently for my empty body to pass through.
All day it continues, each kindness
reaching toward another – a stranger
singing to no one as I pass on the path, trees
offering their blossoms, a retarded child
who lifts his almond eyes and smiles.
Somehow they always find me, seem even
to be waiting, determined to keep me
from myself, from the thing that calls to me
as it must have once called to them –
this temptation to step off the edge
and fall weightless, away from the world.
by Dorianne Laux, from What We Carry (1994)
For more about the poet, Dorianne Laux, see:
I like this poem because it is careworn, a little lost, but carries the spark of optimism. When life presses hard upon us, sometimes it is the small kindnesses of strangers that lift our spirit and sustain us for another day.