Poetry Sunday: Small Kindnesses by Danusha Lameris

My older daughter brought this poem to my attention last week and it proved to be just the antidote I needed for a week of truly horrible and depressing events. As I read it, I could feel the gloom lifting just a little and leaving that crack by which the light gets in, as Leonard Cohen once wrote.

I think, in the end, if there is anything that will save us as a species, it might be those small kindnesses that we do for each other; the things that we do automatically without thinking because we know in our deepest heart of hearts that they are the right things to do. Because "Mostly, we don't want to harm each other", and that sentiment may be "the true dwelling of the holy". 

Treasure those acts and those moments.

Small Kindnesses

by Danusha Lameris

I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead—you first,” “I like your hat.”


  1. I have a feeling kindness is on the minds of many of us today. We need more of the little kindnesses. So much more. Very timely poem.

    1. Yes, it really hit me as being just what I needed in response to the awfulness of this past week.


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