Want This Year To Be Kinder, Gentler, Better? Turn To Poetry…

Without a hint of bitterness or whiff of cynicism, I vow to have this world be more kind, gentle and better in the coming year. I further vow that since I am my own pickler-in-chief for at least some of the words, images and language I let marinate within my body, mind and heart, why not make some of it poetry? Why not trade in a little more of what we don’t want for a little more of what we do?

Why not turn to that same clan of poets that have thrilled, amazed and confronted us for years? Why not repeat their verses, their favorite lines, the burning coins they place in our waiting hands? Why not love the beautiful traps they have set for us? Why not moments of sanity and delight when we can?

Oh yes, for sure there are politics these days that can easily turn our bodies into junk yards of regret. I plan to participate in a little strident activity on the streets this year if needed. What about you?

I also plan to let fall away any of the old myths I no longer wish to carry on my camel. And if I see a burning bush along the way, I will be the first to let you know.

Lastly, I especially vow this year to place my “grief in the mouth of language” just as I have been instructed. It still hurts mightily, but it does work.

So all this is to say, I would be thrilled and delighted to have you join me at one or more of the poetry-fueled events that are coming up soon. And if you should know someone who has been in particular despair over this last year and who might be in need of a poetry-fix, I would love for you to hit that forward button and send this note sailing their way. Who knows but that a line of poetry may just save a suffering soul?

Poetry for the Leader Inside You at the Marin JCC on January 30 @ 1:00 PM until 2:30 PM. Either directly or indirectly, we are all leaders. Come hear how poetry can be used in fresh new and creative ways for all kinds of leaders. Based on my new book: Poetry for The Leader Inside You – A Search and Rescue Mission For the Heart and Soul

A Fierce and Enduring Gratitude…How Poetry Supports Us In Good Times and Bad on February 28th, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm at Dominican Sisters Center 1520 Grand Avenue, San Rafael between Acacia and Locust Streets.

Poetry: The Hard Working, No-Nonsense, Inner Guide of Literature at OLLI Dominican University Spring March 22nd through May 24th @ 10:50 AM to 12:35 PM

Lastly, here is a taste of what awaits you when you order my new prose book. This is the poem Kindness featured in the chapter entitled Why Only Kindness Makes Sense by the amazing, award winning poet, Naomi Shihab Nye. The book is called:  Poetry for The Leader Inside You – A Search and Rescue Mission For the Heart and Soul


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 every where

like a shadow or a friend.

— Naomi Shihab Nye

“Kindness” from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems by

Naomi Shihab Nye, copyright © 1995. Reprinted with the

permission of Far Corner Books.

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