Tag Archives: compassion

Fragments

Dark clouds lurk at the horizon
Promising

I was hungry and you gave me food
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink

We are each but a moment away
From displacement and death

I was a stranger and you welcomed me
I was naked and you gave me clothing

A Fuel Tanker slides over the middle line
Edging to disaster

I was sick and you took care of me
I was in prison and you visited me

We are a greater whole
Diminished when others suffer

Copyright © 2020 Kim Whysall-Hammond

 

Written in response to the Earthweal challenge this week, where I learnt about the concept of Ubuntu. I had not realised that one of my heroes, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, was influenced by Ubuntu in his work on reconciliation in post-apartheid South Africa. A definition is below:

A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.

Of course some of the lines in this poem are from one of this planets great socialist thinkers.  ;)

Friday Poem: What You Need to be Warm by Neil Gaiman

A baked potato of a winter’s night to wrap your hands around or burn your mouth.
A blanket knitted by your mother’s cunning fingers. Or your grandmother’s.
A smile, a touch, trust, as you walk in from the snow
or return to it, the tips of your ears pricked pink and frozen.

The tink tink tink of iron radiators waking in an old house.
To surface from dreams in a bed, burrowed beneath blankets and comforters,
the change of state from cold to warm is all that matters, and you think
just one more minute snuggled here before you face the chill. Just one.

Places we slept as children: they warm us in the memory.
We travel to an inside from the outside. To the orange flames of the fireplace
or the wood burning in the stove. Breath-ice on the inside of windows,
to be scratched off with a fingernail, melted with a whole hand.

Frost on the ground that stays in the shadows, waiting for us.
Wear a scarf. Wear a coat. Wear a sweater. Wear socks. Wear thick gloves.
An infant as she sleeps between us. A tumble of dogs,
a kindle of cats and kittens. Come inside. You’re safe now.

A kettle boiling at the stove. Your family or friends are there. They smile.
Cocoa or chocolate, tea or coffee, soup or toddy, what you know you need.
A heat exchange, they give it to you, you take the mug
and start to thaw. While outside, for some of us, the journey began

as we walked away from our grandparents’ houses
away from the places we knew as children: changes of state and state and state,
to stumble across a stony desert, or to brave the deep waters,
while food and friends, home, a bed, even a blanket become just memories.

Sometimes it only takes a stranger, in a dark place,
to hold out a badly knitted scarf, to offer a kind word, to say
we have the right to be here, to make us warm in the coldest season.

You have the right to be here.

by Neil Gaiman

A poem for refugees — the pandemic hasn’t made life any easier for them, and the ‘refugee problem’ wont just go away.

Here is an article from the Guardian about this poem:

‘Ridiculously hard’: how Neil Gaiman wrote a poem for refugees from 1,000 tweets