Kindness by Yusef Komunyakaa

Discussion in 'Audio Poem of the Day' started by FlamingFeenix, May 17, 2012.

  1. FlamingFeenix

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    [mp3=]Kindness by Yusef Komunyakaa[/mp3]

    [fieldset=Kindness by Yusef Komunyakaa (b. 1947)]
    For Carol Rigolot

    I acknowledge my status as a stranger:
    When deeds splay before us​
    precious as gold & unused chances
    stripped from the whine-bone,
    we know the moment kindheartedness
    walks in. Each praise be
    echoes us back as the years uncount
    themselves, eating salt. Though blood
    first shaped us on the climbing wheel,
    the human mind lit by the savanna’s
    ice star & thistle rose,
    your knowing gaze enters a room
    & opens the day,
    saying we were made for fun.
    Even the bedazzled brute knows
    when sunlight falls through leaves
    across honed knives on the table.
    If we can see it push shadows
    aside, growing closer, are we less
    broken? A barometer, temperature
    gauge, a ruler in minus fractions
    & pedigrees, a thingmajig,
    a probe with an all-seeing eye,
    what do we need to measure
    kindness, every unheld breath,
    every unkind leapyear?
    Sometimes a sober voice is enough
    to calm the waters & drive away
    the false witnesses, saying, Look,
    here are the broken treaties Beauty
    brought to us earthbound sentinels.[/fieldset]

    Yusef Komunyakaa, “Kindness” from Poetry 181, No. 5 (March 2003). Copyright © 2003 by Yusef Komunyakaa. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

    Source: Poetry (March 2003).
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