2011 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 13

Good morning! Today is World Kindness Day. As a result…

The prompt for today is to write a kind poem. My interpretation of this prompt is that the poem should either be kind or somehow involve kindness in it–one way or the other. I suppose the poem could also involve cruelty–as long as there is some form of kindness somewhere. But if you feel the need to stretch the prompt, go for it.

Here’s my attempt:


          – for cousin Sean

There was some debate over what,
but then he gave away his knife.
He needed to pick a gift, but
there was some debate over what.
His decision came from his gut–
who knows? It might save someone’s life.
There was some debate over what,
but then he gave away his knife.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer

And learn more about writing, publishing, and living in general at my other blog: My Name Is Not Bob.


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225 thoughts on “2011 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 13

  1. Lovely Annie


    “You are just like your mother.”
    he hissed,
    language laced with poison.

    Her voice
    low and scratchy
    answering another
    of my late night telephone calls.
    The soft and slow trace of her fingertips
    on my back; next to me; right now.
    In silence I still hear
    the kindness in
    her voice.

    “Thank you.”
    and with a smile I turn
    and walk away.

    this poem is in honor of my mother and her kindness!…I am playing around a bit with form…so there is a rictameter within the poem…


  2. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    for april
    by juanita lewison-snyder

    when your mother died,
    you approached the crumbling edge
    of a dangerous precipice
    my friend, staring down that
    empty barrel into darkness,
    and i was very afraid for you.
    as the very last branch of
    your family tree, you dangled
    lost, broken, alone.
    i too drank in your suffering,
    licking your wounds like a
    mother cat. to do so otherwise
    would have rendered me false.
    as i helped pack up the house,
    you blessed me with wonderful
    intimate stories about the woman
    who birthed my best friend,
    who for years had gifted her daughter
    with collectible teddy bears
    celebrating milestones,
    before cancer came to the door
    sweet-talking its way in.
    it was at that very moment
    that your mother’s ghost
    leaned over and spoke to me
    and i made the decision to
    continue what she had started,
    so that you would always remember
    the day your branch was grafted
    onto my own family tree.

    © 2011 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  3. RJ Clarken

    Six Kinds of Impossible

    “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” ~Walt Disney

    “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” ~Lewis Carroll

    Let us do impossible things –
    yes, six of them before breakfast.
    And really, it’s kindness with wings
    since after all, we need to fly;
    we need to make our spirits high.
    From this world…it’s you and I…
    Let’s laugh; let’s love; let’s not ask why.


    Note: The form is Saraband.

  4. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Sowing Kindness

    “That’s very kind of you,”
    words startling to my ear
    often repeated by my first
    boss and for deeds most
    people would simply say
    “Thank you” for: like a
    message communicated
    or task completed.

    I was
    taken aback that he saw
    kindness in my ordinary
    acts but I could not deny
    how good his words made
    me feel, a warming glow
    grew inside me as if he
    saw goodness I had not
    noticed within me.

    I’ve learned to summon
    up that feeling in others
    commending their deeds
    whenever I can, knowing
    it’s like rain on parched
    land. They will blossom.

  5. Nikolas Varek


    Stepping off the steeply inclined bus steps,
    I bleakly rub my throbbing inner elbow,
    bound with a blue bandage, before
    I eyeball the polished gallon pin upon my lapel.
    A slight smile of satisfaction surfaces
    on my face as I realize that a little bit
    of my lifeblood may have meandered its way
    into a multitude of human beings.
    I have no means for most charities
    but this one’s surprisingly simple.

  6. Judy Roney

    Kind Healer

    The doctor’s hand touches
    my husband’s arm, my hand
    as he tells us its cancer, quickly
    tells us the way we will do
    battle, irradiate the enemy,
    keep close eye on rebirth.
    He’ll slice away every cell of tumors,
    then singe in the fires of a laser.
    We – keep our appointments,
    pray, and don’t give up hope.

  7. Joseph Harker


    He said, will you show me– I promise
    not to touch.
    There was the crackle of crisp paper.
    So then there was unbuttoning,
    fabric and fabric, a pale revelation.
    And he breathed, circled
    like this was a Greek marble for admiring,
    one that he could smell and sense its
    fluttering pulse–

    he said, just one touch– another one
    for just one touch.
    And the crackle of paper mixed with that
    of skin on skin. He dragged his fingertips
    in a long unending spiral, memorizing,
    squeezing, never lifted them
    once. He trembled, too: he’s trembled
    ever since they found the poison
    in his veins–

    he said, I’m going to– I won’t do it
    anywhere near you.
    One more if you do too. He was
    half-cocked already, and he finished quick:
    the result glared brilliantly from his hand,
    accusatory, but full of terror.
    The sound of skin, paper, fabric:
    on top of that the sound of what might be
    the last cinders of mercy, burning away.

  8. SaraV

    All kinds of wonderful poems!!

    Cold Comfort

    In Minneapolis it seems
    Kindness is in the genes
    They help, they give, they hold the door
    They’re never, ever mean
    It may be freezing out, or months
    Of snow and storm
    Yet the hearts of Minnesotans
    Seem perpetually warm
    While back in sunny Fla
    Where everyone loves to play
    The sea is warm and blue
    And all the palm trees sway
    The hearts have got a chilliness
    It’s very clear to see
    When it comes to kindness
    It can’t be measured by degrees

  9. Anita Murphy

    Stop In for a Minute

    Through the frosty window there
    She’s sitting in her old wooden chair
    Her hair is streaked with white and grey
    A warm face wrinkled and smile so gay
    Her eyes are blue and clear as bells
    “Hello” she says, and an odour tells
    Of gin and tonic her favourite drink
    “Come on in.” she says with a wink
    “Sit by the fire, and give me your coat
    I am so happy to see you, good lord you’re soaked
    I’ll fix you a drink to warm you up
    And a ladle of soup in the old blue cup”
    Both elbows resting on the table
    She lights her cigarette and starts her fable
    Whether it be the truth or a lie
    It is of no matter to you or I
    In her eighties she still tosses her hair
    Like one of twenty who’s young and fair
    She sits a glass on the table for me
    And says one for the road won’t hurt ye
    She steps outside and into the snow
    I made these ice cubes for Christmas you know
    Into each one she has placed a cherry
    To make the season just a little more merry
    It’s five o’clock and darkness creeps in
    A wintery night is about to begin
    Lifting the shade off the kerosene light
    The match on the box she softly strikes
    A smell of sulphur and kerosene
    She lights the wick and the flame burns clean
    The snow is falling ever so softly
    She puts wood in the stove and brews me a coffee
    I lean myself back in the old rocking chair
    And listen to the stories she has to share
    “It’s getting late will you spend the night?”
    “The cot by the stove would it be alright?”
    The tick of the clock and the crackle of the fire
    Gets louder and louder as she starts to tire
    “Pouring one last drink.” she says with a grin
    “I’ll sleep tonight with all that gin”
    Before she butts out her last cigarette
    She blows a smoke ring just round and perfect.
    “I once was a wild one.” She said with a smile
    And no regrets do I have for even awhile”
    She carries the light to her painted bedroom
    And with a small giggle she starts singing a tune
    Tucked in her bed she says,” It means a lot
    When everyone’s gone and no family I’ve got.
    That you are a friend of an old lady like me
    Always comin’ around, be’ in my company
    As I lay in the dark and there is not a sound
    I say” Sleep tight Emma, I love being ‘round”

  10. Celestialdrmr

    Soup Kitchen

    Sensible smile
    outstretched ladle
    serving others
    365 days a year,
    hair pulled back by a net,
    dull, stained dress and apron
    torn stockings met with
    non-skid shoes
    makes no difference here
    to be yourself, warm portions
    from the heart to the belly,
    keeping order and minding
    all the hungry souls
    Kris Kringle can’t keep up with her,
    not a single complaint, receive
    a smile and a scoop,
    when the dinner bell has ceased
    the serving soul goes to the community
    determined heart to help the needy,
    donations by the bags
    another day, another chance to dish up
    hope added to her cups of love.

  11. justastatistic-poet


    A simple man dipping well,
    Guiding ragged skiff through Atlantic swell,
    Forged by lashings of hemp under sail,
    Knew loss by fickle nature’s scything gale,

    Skin as rough as salt-bleached wood,
    So deeply quiet others suspiciously misunderstood,
    From the greatest war he returned home whole,
    Yet never talked about his role,

    Every day he read from the worn leather book,
    So serious and somber countenanced his stern outlook,
    And every year for summer I would return,
    To live with my Grandpa next to the heather coated country burn,

    The year I turned eight brought a lump to my throat,
    My stern old grandpa had crafted me a boat,
    He taught me to fish and sail and row,
    He taught me to persevere as he sentiently watched me grow,

    He taught me the wonder of life in the wild,
    How to grow yet still retain the hidden inner summer child,
    So a simple poem for grandpa in heaven above,
    So that through my sadly inadequate words… for the magic… I can
    show my love…

  12. onemanbandwidth

    The Fever

    At Midnight it started. A westbound train

    Below my window sounded a long cold whistle

    And drove uncomfortable waves from the small of my back

    Upwards until I fell into long days of restless memory

    We never know how sick we were until we return

    The next train I heard woke me with a dismissive whistle

    I’d finally fallen asleep and you had left for home

    It was Midnight again when I looked down from my wide window

    Onto the empty tracks the sweat on my arms

    Had beaded around the stars. The moon was warm

    On my chest. And I can tell you now, It is easier to breathe

    In the present where all I can remember

    Is how incredibly kind you were to me

    — For Shannon

  13. Jane Shlensky

    I have got to go to bed! One more.

    Cowboy Kindness
    (for Willie and the Boys)

    We both agreed
    he could have
    loved me better,
    but the lesson was not
    too late for my learning.

    The last thing on my mind
    was being his strange reliance,
    his blue eyes crying,
    his reason for writing
    complicated love songs
    suitable for drinking,
    remembering, and
    quibbling over lyrics.

    I see now that
    cowboy selfishness
    can turn us on ourselves
    like misshapen pots,
    slung all wrong
    from the start.

    Even without the beer
    and weeping, I know
    when I’m holding
    a heart in my hand.
    So tell me, Willie,
    if you didn’t mean
    to be unkind,
    why were you?

  14. iainspapa

    Cup Of Kindness

    Cup in hand
    She rings the bell
    I wonder what
    She’s here to sell
    I scowl past
    The safety chain
    She smiles through
    The driving rain
    And says, “Your neighbor
    Sent me here
    To thank you for
    The cup of cheer
    You let her borrow
    She says her sorrow’s
    Gone away
    So here’s your cup of
    Kindness back.”
    She hands the cup
    In through the crack.
    I take it, and
    She smiles once more
    Then leaves me standing
    At the door.
    The rain, the wind,
    The girl so wet
    Whose smile I
    Won’t soon forget…
    I wish I’d had
    The nerve to say,
    “Hey, next time,
    Wash the cup, okay?”


  15. DanielAri

    I like this prompt 🙂


    “Because kindness fades”

    The heat held in a cup of tea;
    garlic fragrance in the kitchen;
    a legend about a saintly
    person; heady effects of wine;
    halvah, a cloud of sesame—

    your kind acts make this world serene
    for a while. Then they sublimate
    like a picnic into evening.
    The taste of sweetness you forget;
    just the fact keeps in memory.

    Each comfort tends to dissipate,
    and the bittersweet pendulum
    swings with time toward the bitter taste.
    Our photographed smiles turn dull, dumb…
    Therefore, we chums become some kind

    of honey dynamos that thrum,
    making things that make us say “yum.”

  16. Sibella

    From the Director’s Chair

    The art director wanted a sofa
    the color of kindness. I said
    color didn’t matter; it was all
    up to the lighting designer.
    The 67-year-old former soap star
    whose job it was to splay, dead,
    over the back cushions said
    Who gives a shit about the slipcovers,
    as long as the cushion underneath
    doesn’t mess with my sciatica?
    The pop star playing the killer
    asked for cerulean blue, because
    it made the corpse’s skin look smoother.
    That, I said,
    is kindness.

    Pamela Murray Winters

  17. Domino


    A young mom
    with three young kids
    pulls into the station
    to put a few bucks
    worth of gas
    into her barely
    running car.

    All three are buckled in
    She must go pay the cashier.
    She puts the car in park,
    pulls the emergency
    brake. (Does it even work?)

    She steps away for one

    Inside the car, little feet,
    bored by the waiting,
    are kicking.
    Kicking at the
    gear shift
    among other things.

    And the car slips
    into neutral.
    And gravity
    pulls the
    car (the emergency brake
    does NOT work!)
    down the
    slight incline,
    picking up speed,
    toward the busy

    From the kiosk,
    the mother sees her
    rolling toward the street
    and runs.

    Too late, it’s too late
    the car is going out
    into the street.

    And a homeless man
    (an angel in disguise?)
    steps out
    into traffic, and turns
    the wheel,
    allowing the car
    to roll to a stop

    The mother,
    runs up and
    (thank you, thank you, thank you!)
    tries to thank the man
    who shrugs off
    her gratitude
    and shoulders
    his pack
    and walks
    leaving four lives
    forever changed
    by his

    Diana Terrill Clark

  18. Buddah Moskowitz

    Kindness Poem

    If you seek me out
    from the googol of
    self-aggrandizing blogs
    cobwebbed social media,

    I am so thankful
    for your devotion.

    If you leave a note
    then I know you’ve seen me

    and you’ve invalidated
    my presumed invisibility

    and most days
    that is the kindest thing
    of all.

  19. seingraham

    Of a Kind Nature

    What does it mean, her grandson
    Asks, to be one of a kind,
    Is it the same as being kind
    Or knowing your own kind
    And what does she mean
    When she says to people
    They are being “too kind”
    He can tell that she doesn’t
    Always mean it – just by the sound
    Of her voice

    As is often the case
    He gives her pause, makes her
    Think, about her motives,
    The way she speaks, frequently
    Without thinking, and the nature
    Of words, meanings, even voice
    Inflections – such a simple word:
    Kind – so many variations
    What is it she wants him
    To know about it – what does she
    Consider most important

    She tells him she agrees
    With most dictionary definitions:
    That the purest meaning
    Of the word when it is used
    Properly is that it means
    Having a caring, giving nature
    Or even being agreeable,
    not destructive
    That that was when it was something
    Called a modifier – he was a bit
    Young to learn about adjectives
    But what can you do

    He looks at her blankly
    Clearly not understanding
    And she decides – for now
    “The important meaning is the one
    I just told you – that when you
    Share things, or don’t hit even
    When it feels like you might
    Like to –
    Or try to make your brother laugh
    When he’s sad – you are
    Being kind …”

    He looks puzzled and she watches
    as he struggles to tell her about
    being good, about being nice
    Just like Mom and Dad say
    And with wonder in his little voice
    The voice that has only recently
    Found words and is just
    Learning sentences
    He excitedly concludes
    That good and nice sound
    A lot like kind
    Does that mean he’s kind?
    She has to look away
    Stifling both tears and smiles
    Yes – yes – it sure does,
    He is very kind.

  20. Marie Elena


    Isaiah 11:6. “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat…”


    The leopard kills a baboon, its natural predator.
    Though horrid to behold, we recognize this
    Natural act of self-preservation.

    The leopard notices the day-old infant baboon,
    And we gasp,
    Anticipating another act we cannot bear to witness.

    Yet, the leopard’s reaction to the infant
    Stirs sighs of relief and bewilderment,
    As she tenderly licks and embraces

    This vulnerable suckling, orphaned
    As an outcome of her own action.
    Is she as mystified as we

    At this apparent inverse instinct –
    This act of grace, offered
    To one not of her own kind?

    1. Marie Elena

      Hi, all you wonderful poets! If you have not seen the youtube video I linked above, it is well worth checking out. Amazing! Hannah, this is more of that super quick clip on Facebook. Unfortunately, the infant baboon ends up not making it. 🙁

      Wishing for time to read and relish, but I must be getting to bed at a decent time tonight. Good night, all!

  21. Janet Rice Carnahan


    Is it their way with words?
    Or the vision they clearly see?
    Like a flight of southern flying birds,
    Written touch sets souls free!
    Poets seem to capture,
    The very essence of life,
    Focusing on the rapture
    With phrases that end strife!
    They highlight what is admired,
    Coaxing out the beauty,
    Anything stuck or mired,
    With poets it ceases to be!
    Delicately, they find their stride,
    Carry us forward on high,
    Suddenly it becomes our ride!
    Blending in with their sky!
    Transported into their touchable heart,
    Gently we let go,
    Not knowing we became their art,
    There’s no worry what’s below!
    Taking our willing hand,
    We’re shown gardens, every flower,
    So thrilled they understand,
    We’ll stay close days on the hour!
    Through all their written gifts,
    Carefully crafted and guided pen!
    All genuine words give us happy lifts,
    Opening us to ourselves . . .

    As each poem is artfully, kindly done!

  22. Mom6


    Extravagance bestowed on the undeserving
    No slack hand; all generosity and benevolence
    Arching heavenward
    Like a multi-colored rainbow
    In a sun washed sky
    Golden rays of kindness
    Warm the crowded streets

  23. Gregory


    Magical moments exist
    When a smile shines forth
    A thank you is presented
    A genuine appreciation expressed

    Fireworks burst
    For the
    Simple Acts of

    A dime at a bus stop
    Is worth more than

    Good morning
    Is refreshing
    When the morning is not so

    Simple Acts
    Are simply

  24. pmwanken


    it was the kindness
    of strangers that ushered her
    from one life to the next

    she was rescued, that one,
    given a second chance
    to be loved, and cuddled;

    today, on World Kindness Day,
    it was the kindness of family
    that again ushered her

    from one life to the next
    as she was rescued
    from pain and suffering

    P. Wanken

    Rest in Peace, Zoey.

  25. PSC in CT

    Random Acts

    random act of pansies,
    their sweet, silly faces
    popped in colorful pots,
    smiling on the front porch

    chance proffer of poems
    tacked up on phone poles,
    taped inside storm doors,
    tucked beneath door mats

    stray lavish of pleasantries
    greetings, drive-by smiles,
    a car horn toot, friendly wave,
    song, salute or tip of the hat

    gifts bestowed by some unknown
    gardener, poet, artist, stranger,
    intending only kindness, needing
    neither reward nor recognition

    unable to return the favor; no way
    to pay back the benefactor; only
    two things you can do:
    pass it by, or pass it on

  26. Sara McNulty

    My Father’s Son-in-law

    John barely knew his father,
    already old and sickly, when
    he was born, and gone before
    they could be adults together.
    He called my father, Pop,
    throughout our marriage;
    Dad loved him as a son.
    John took us to Washington, D.C.
    My Dad, a World War Two
    veteran, could barely walk.
    When navigation proved
    arduous, he wheeled Dad,
    tears trembling down his cheeks,
    `round the new memorial.

    Several years later, Dad sat up,
    propped by pillows on hospital
    sheets, body barely covered
    by the blue gaping gown, tissues
    tented on the table. They called
    it Rehab; we knew he’d never
    come home. Dad was an avid
    newspaper reader, like John,
    both hungering for historical facts
    and political propensities. Each
    morning John brought newspapers,
    and wheeled Dad up and down
    the halls of the facility, even on
    that one freakish day, when Dad
    ranted, and sobbed, scaring
    everyone else into staying home.

    Newspapers lay forgotten,
    as did Dad’s thick-framed
    glasses, folded in their case.
    Still my husband brought news,
    hoping silently to engage
    him in life again. At the cemetery,
    we gathered, listened to my husband
    read the eulogy he wrote for his Pop.

  27. posmic

    Swim Lessons

    Kindness in the high school-aged swim teacher
    who holds my daughter, now; they drift through
    water rippled by others’ splashes in the hall
    of echoes that is this ancient natatorium.
    My daughter, age 6, does not splash, does not
    yet float; she rejects my cheery assertion
    that the water will hold her, just like a bed.
    Every week, a little bit farther; every week,
    I watch the wet, broad back of the instructor
    as she holds her most resistant student level
    in the water, encourages her not to grip
    so tightly around the neck—the small arm
    comes up, is gently placed back down again—
    as they sew, the two of them, a seam from
    the wall to the end of the shallows, back.
    High fives are given as needed. In so many
    weeks it begins to mean something; I begin
    to forget I used to dread coming here. Now
    I see the strong back, the open arms making
    space for tiny progress, not failure. They are
    skin to skin, and both of them still children;
    someday, perhaps, as mother or wife,
    the teacher will remember this intimacy,
    have a sense memory of holding this stranger,
    a feeling that it was something like love.

  28. Kim King

    Still playing catch up! I cannot wait until the Thanksgiving break!

    The Phone Call

    After dropping out of school five years ago,
    he still calls his high school teacher,
    the one who taught him that someone
    cared if he came to class, or did drugs,
    or ate healthy food, and how to pet a dog.

    He always lies about finishing his GED,
    and tells her that he’s still working
    on that college degree. He asks about
    the dogs, her family and school. Before
    hanging up, he reminds her of the photo,

    the one of him smiling with her family,
    his black afro spiraling among the blonds.
    He keeps it on his dresser and remembers
    everything––everything she taught him,
    everything about kindness but nothing of truth.

  29. Jane Shlensky

    Innate (double shadorma)

    Even when
    we choose not to be,
    we know that
    kindness is
    simple bravery, pity,
    acceptance, and love.

    Even when
    we practice war and
    greed, hate and
    still we know what kindness is.
    We know it by heart.

  30. Kit Cooley

    Kind Enough

    Sometimes it is not necessary,
    To say anything, to try to force
    A meaning onto thorny acts.
    Even kind words chafe
    The raw and tender wound.
    A touch, a look, companionable
    Silence, hugged tight to beating heart,
    A hand held gently, the brush of lips
    On tear-stained cheek, a hot cup of tea,
    A favorite meal, lovingly prepared.
    When self gets out of the way of us,
    A simple gesture is kind enough.

  31. Shannon Lockard

    Hold the Door

    A door held open
    when hands are full
    juggling groceries
    and a tot too small to walk.
    Eyes mist up from the gesture
    a nod of the head is all she can muster.
    The child smiles his chubby grin.
    The door closes,
    the moment disappears,
    but small eyes see everything.

  32. a.paige

    Kindness is this.

    Kindness is a seed
    that blooms in time
    when planted now.

    Kindness is a seed
    that roots in time
    when planted now.

    Kindness is a hand
    one from each one
    of us holds us.

    Kindness is a tree.
    If planted now,
    it grows firmly.

    Kindness is a tree.
    If planted now,
    it grows steady.

    Kindness is a heart.
    One bleeding heart
    gives another life.

    Kindness is a word
    A single word
    gives another life.

  33. Bruce Niedt

    A bit more downbeat than much of the rest that’s been posted today:


    No one thought her crazy when she took in
    the first two vocal strays at her doorstep.
    Some warm milk, a few strokes on the back,
    and they wanted to stay forever.
    How kind of her, the neighbors said.
    Over the months, three more wandered
    onto her porch, and again, found a home there.
    Three tabbies, a Siamese and a Persian,
    all of whom got along well, she told her friends.
    But that’s when they stopped hearing
    from her, and her mind took a left turn.
    Neighbors only saw her when she went out
    in her housecoat, looking for something –
    more cats, they would gossip later.
    She retreated into a claustrophobic world
    filled with felines, and two years later,
    when the cops responded to complaints
    about the smell, they found her, dazed
    and disoriented, with thirty-five cats
    in a two-bedroom row house. Feces
    were everywhere, and most of the animals
    were emaciated, starving. Three were dead,
    and others had begun to feed on them.
    They took all her cats away, destroyed
    about half of them. Now she is in a rest home,
    where they treat her, and the other residents,
    with a modicum of kindness. There is a point
    where love is not enough, and care is too much.


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