We’ve featured Naomi Shihab Nye before. I’ve listened to this interview with her on On Being with host Krista Tippett multiple times over the past two years. I find it very inspiring, and thought you might too, on this Monday when spring seems to be springing out all over. It begins this way,

KRISTA TIPPETT, HOST: “You are living in a poem.” This is how the poet Naomi Shihab Nye sees the world, and she teaches how this way of being and writing is possible. She has engaged the real-world power of words since her upbringing between her father’s Palestinian homeland and Ferguson, Missouri, near where her American mother grew up. Her father was a refugee journalist, and she carries forward his hopeful passion, his insistence, that language must be a way out of cycles of animosity. A poem she wrote called “Kindness,” is carried around in the pockets and memories of readers around the world.


“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 gaze at 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 everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.”

I highly recommend this interview — whether you are a poet or a writer, someone who appreciates one or the other, someone who loves Naomi Shihab Nye’s poetry or someone whose never heard of her. It’s an inspiring interview that includes the poet reading some of her work.