We could have courage, discipline or kindness for dinner tonight, so which’ll it be? They all sound good, right?

I’m going with kindness right now. Partly because I have had to serve extra helpings of courage and discipline every night of this whole pandemic, just to get through.

How does kindness taste? Is that what a poem is always straining to achieve?

I was listening to American poet Jane Hirshfield in conversation with Krista Tippett on the podcast On Being, and one of the most beautiful things in it was her reading of her poem “The Bowl.”

A day, if a day could feel, must feel like a bowl.
Wars, loves, trucks, betrayals, kindness,
it eats them.

Then the next day comes, spotless and hungry.

The bowl cannot be thrown away.
It cannot be broken.

(from “The Bowl” by Jane Hirshfield)

I feel most drawn to her image of each new day in a human life as “spotless and hungry.” To think of kindness itself as a bit of nourishment in a bowl of many other ingredients that might be sweet, bitter, sour…

The Tamil harvest festival of Pongal is this weekend, and I made the requisite rice porridge with its sweet and savory elements, plus cashews and raisins and ghee. The ingredients are also gratitude for nourishment and hope for abundance, for everyone.

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