by Danusha Laméris
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.”
I found this poem in Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindess & Connection, edited by James Crews, Green Writers Press, 2019. Information about the poet can be found here.
You can find A Gathering of Poetry every month . . . on the third Thursday.
Gather up some poetry!
(Bonny is hosting a special link-up for A Gathering of Poetry. Be sure to check it out!)
That is the perfect poem for these times.
Sometimes all we need is to smile at someone and have them smile right back.
In a world that seems increasingly hostile, I always try to approach people with kindness if I can, and this poem is making me think that maybe a bit of unexpected kindness might awaken the inherent goodness that I want to believe is in everyone.
This poem will make me revere those “brief moments of exchange” even more. Thank you for sharing!
This poem is a beautiful reminder when you are overwhelmed and think you can’t make any difference at all in the status of the world… that you can. One person at a time.
Thank you so much for sharing! XO
That poem is one of my favorites from that collection. The imagery is so relatable and makes the ordinary feel holy.
And that pretty much sums up what it means to live in a civil society. With fervent hope that civility comes back in fashion soon.
Love this poem. You may inspire me yet, Kym. What bounced out at me, though, was the changing of the thinking of waitresses saying “honey.” Recently, I have heard people become outraged at that genuine friendliness saying that they felt “diminished “ by that term. It makes me sad that Feminism has been carried that far.
This poem is a favorite of mine. I also have the book on my shelf. I hope to post a poem next month. This month the Thursday was a travel day for us. I also take a media break when I’m with my children and families. Every minute with them is precious and I try hard to just be in the moment.