The poet Naomi Shihab Nye is an expert on how fragile the world can be. She is an Arab-American who grew up in Ferguson, Missouri and Palestine. Perhaps she has never taken “safety” for granted. She describes how knowing “how desolate the landscape can be” has heightened her appreciation for “the tender gravity of kindness.” Her poem “Kindness,” begins this way: “Before you know what kindness really is you must lose things, feel the future dissolve in a moment like salt in a weakened broth.” Even so, she has concluded that “it is only kindness that makes sense anymore.”
Naomi Shihab Nye, Words Under the Words. (Portland, Oregon: The Eighth Mountain Press, 1995), 155.