Friday, January 19, 2018

Write About a Quiet Kindness



Friend of Kitties
by Amy LV




Students - Our eldest daughter attends college in New York City, and this week she told me a story about a lady she met while walking back to school from a babysitting job. The lady was standing near some scaffolding, reaching down and into a cut-out in the wood.  When our daughter stopped to chat, she learned that this lady is a feeder-of-city-cats.  This lady and some of her friends regularly bring canned cat food and blankets to homeless city cats.  I think that this lady is a special spirit, and I am very grateful know that she exists.  I loved hearing the story and right away knew that I would write about it in my notebook.  I did not know at that moment that I would write a poem...but here it is.

Sometimes people write poems about folks they admire.  About people they believe make the world a strong and light-filled and happier place to live in.  We can write thank you letters and opinion pieces or give written awards to such people.  Or...we can also write poems about them.  We don't even need to know the people or see them in action.  We may just learn a story about such a person, as I learned one from our daughter.

Here's a little challenge for you.  Listen to people talk.  Watch people.  See if you can uncover a kindness, a gentleness, a surprise-and hidden-goodness that many people might not know about.  Write a poem about this person or kind act, not using the person's name, but just offering it up to the world.  I sure would love to read such poems - and maybe even share them here. Such poems and stories make me want to be better myself, so I like to read as many as I can.  If you write a poem celebrating a kind act (and if you really work on it), I welcome you to have your parent or teacher send it to me through my CONTACT ME button....and I will write back.

Did you notice that the sentences in this poem get very short at the end?  I did this on purpose.  The first stanza is one long and rollicking sentence, describing the many kinds of homeless cats one might find in the city.  The second stanza, on the other hand, focuses on the actions of one human: kind and good.  I wanted that part to be read slowly.  With pauses.  That's why the lines and sentences are so short.

Here are some photographs that our sweet daughter sent to me after reading this poem:

From a Distance
Photo by H. VanDerwater

Closer
Photo by H. VanDerwater

Even Closer
Photo by H. VanDerwater

Closest
Photo by H. VanDerwater

The Educator Collaborative is currently (now through February 14, 2018) running its Global Kind Project 2018 for classrooms.  Please check it out if you are interested.  You can connect with others from all over, sharing stories and finding ways to be kinder....together.

At Sharing Our Notebooks, my other online home,  I am superhappy to host third grade teacher Dina Bolan and her third grade writers from Alexander Hamilton Elementary School in Glen Rock, New Jersey.  Please read their nonfiction notebook entries, and leave a comment to be entered into a drawing.  I will send the winning name a cool new notebook!

Please visit Kay's place today's Poetry Friday roundup at A Journey Through the Pages. Every week a group of us gather our posts together at one blog, so if you visit Kay this week...you will be introduced to many new poets and blogs and books.  We welcome you!

Please share a comment below if you wish.

11 comments:

  1. That is a beautiful poem. The simple kindnesses inspire me to try to live a better life. The larger kindnesses bring to silent tears. Without either, the world would be a much darker place.

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  2. Thanks for the challenge, Amy! I appreciate the reminder to pay attention to the goodness.

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  3. It makes me glad that your daughter stopped to talk, and found a story for you, Amy, thus a lovely poem, too. I imagine it would make that woman smile to think she's had a poem written about her. Two feral cats make their home on my daughter's porch & her husband has crafted an insulated 'house' for them in the coldest weather, from an old cooler! Those cats are out there, hoping for a bite to eat!

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  4. I am a cat lover so this story touched my heart. I feel so sorry for all the animals enduring the freezing temperatures with little food or shelter. I'm very thankful to this lady and her kindness. Your poem is a beautiful reminder how each of us can make a difference in our own way. xo

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  5. Such a lovely poem, and equally lovely story you shared, Amy. Thank you for the challenge - I will do my best!

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  6. That is such a warming story and poem, Amy. I have this little hope that your daughter meets up with the cat lady again some day (soon) and has the opportunity to share your poem with her. New York is not such a *very* big city, is it? ;)

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  7. Isn't it amazing how much impact a quiet kindness can have? I love that your daughter stopped to talk with this woman, shared the story with you and that the moment sparked into your lovely poem. Kindness can be like ripples in a pond.

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    1. Quiet kindness, indeed. We foster dogs here (with 5 of our own), but I'm a cat person and if my wife didn't have allergies to them, we'd probably be fostering them, too!

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  8. You have such a talent at taking the everyday and making it sing in a poem. We have a "cat lady" in our neighborhood who walks and places cat food out for the neighborhood strays. You inspire me to look more closely and write about her. Thanks!

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  9. What an inspiring act of kindness. Thank you for sharing it with the world through your poem. Now I'm off to discover more hidden kindnesses to celebrate.

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  10. What a wonderful poem and story of how it came to be. We had a stray cat who adopted us and lived on our porch for many years. Sadly, I haven't seen him since August. I'm hoping he found a new home. Thank you for the reminder about the Global Kind Project. It completely slipped my mind!

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