Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Tuesday Poem: "Silk of a Soul" by Zbigniew Herbert

did I speak with her
either about love
or about death

only blind taste
and mute touch
used to run between us
when absorbed in ourselves
we lay close

I must
peek inside her
to see what she wears
at her centre

when she slept
with her lips open
I peeked

and what
and what
would you think
I caught sight of

I was expecting
I was expecting
a bird
I was expecting
a house
by a lake great and silent

but there
on a glass counter
I caught sight of a pair
of silk stockings

my God
I'll buy her those stockings
I'll buy them

but what will appear then
on the glass counter
of the little soul

will it be something
which cannot be touched
even with one finger of a dream

     -- Zbigniew Herbert (translated from the Polish by Czeslaw Milosz and Peter Dale Scott)

To read more about the Polish poet and writer,  Zbigniew Herbert, read here:


I like this poem because it has a sensual quality that really appeals to me. Enough said.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Tuesday Poem: "Channelling his Inner Greek"

Mischief light fills his eyes
and he can’t believe his ears.
His father is giving him permission
to smash a plate on the concrete driveway.

Mum’s picked up a nice line in Crown Lynn retro plates
in a second-hand shop in Timaru
and she’s culling hard.
Tiny chip on the underside of the rim, felt but unseen,
and it’s unsentimentally consigned
to the dustbin of history
or at least some anonymous landfill.

Dad sees an opportunity for secret boy business,
sanctioned vandalism. “Don’t tell Mum. She wouldn’t approve.”

That boy’s blue eyes are
charged with adrenalin
when that white innocence shatters
in a porcelain explosion.

“Do you feel a little bit Greek?” Dad asks
and is met with incomprehension.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Tuesday Poem: "Places Becoming Lonely"

Not a name on a marquee,
but a firmament in which a star could shine

this solid Earth, dependable unless we forget
the hard lessons of gravity

understated, not showy, he knew the places
his eyes could take the audience

there are more of us now and they say
we are more visually literate

and the images multiply daily
and yet there are more

places becoming lonely

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Tuesday Poem - "Kindness" by Naomi Shihab Nye

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.

     -- Naomi Shihab Nye

There are many fine poets in the world (including all my fellow Tuesday Poets on the blogroll) and not enough time in one lifetime to discover and read all the fine poets, both alive and dead, out there in the big, wide world.

I have a poetry aficionado friend in Wellington to thank for introducing me to this wonderful poem by a poet I had never heard of.

I love this poem because I think you'd go a long way to find such a wonderful, rich and poetic encapsulation of the concept of kindness. A simple act of kindness performed from the heart can lift a person's spirit and enrich their day.

If you'd like to know more about this poet, Naomi Shihab Nye, see:


And then you can kindly proceed to read some of the wonderful offerings of my fellow Tuesday Poets at the blogroll at: