Focusing in Ireland

Poetry Gathering Reflection - June 2022

Kindness - Naomi Shihab Nye - 1952

At the inaugural Focusing with Poetry session of June 23rd. Mary Jennings and I worked with the poem Kindness, an inspired choice on Marie’s part.

We each engaged with the poem in different ways. For Mary the text reflected a specific personal experience. She identified the difference between trite everyday expressions of sympathy and the “ tender gravity” of kindness. For me, the loss of “what you counted and carefully saved” encapsulates the desolation from which I can only be rescued by kindness, which reflects mercy.

I was puzzled by the use of the verb “gaze” in the line …sends you out into the day to gaze at bread…. “ Mary suggested that this reflects the atmosphere of an environment of street food and market stalls. This would be in line with the backdrop of an indigenous society suggested elsewhere in the poem.

These observations only touch on the rich trove of meaning to be explored in Kindness, an inspired choice by Marie for our first focusing with Poetry session.

Thank you for the sharing.
Carmel Heaney

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