Friday, 19 July 2019

golden rule

this day is full of meanness ...
and I'd ... much rather ... it was kind

perhaps I'll add some sweetness
to the words that tumble down this page …
or let the air out of
... the mournful sighs and sorrowful rage ...
that float, unseen, between the lines of this poem ...

as if fluffery can take heartache away …
and lassitude can keep … 
all the sad plights of man … at bay … no … 
there is no way for me, to stem the grief
from the human suffering I see

… still ...
I can write of values such as empathy
and scruples and inclusion ... still … I can do
an act of kindness ... better yet ...

ten acts of kindness ... I can try harder
to be kind ... to keep that simple credo
at the forefront of my mind ... always,
at the forefront of my mind ... 
and fight for what is right

might I find the hours brighter, if I tried …
… for I must try … because ...

the days become more cruel
and I am … no where near ... resigned
to throw the towel in on kindness ...
and give up on humankind

Do unto others as you wish others do unto you. Confucius circa 500 B.C.

note:  The Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as oneself would wish to be treated.  If you google the maxim/phrase, you will find a variation of it (in some form or other) in virtually every religion and almost every ethical precept around the world. Although, occasionally criticized on the grounds that all people do not, necessarily, want to be treated in the same way, I think that is a very literal interpretation. I believe it is fair to say that all people want to be treated humanely, with compassion and dignity. Thus, I believe the spirit behind the maxim, is to guide your behavior in the same general manner towards others, with which you would want to be treated – that is to say: humanely, compassionately and with dignity.

note on photo:  In 2014, one of my sons was privileged to be involved in building two homes in East Africa to house babies and children orphaned as a result of the AIDS crisis.  It was a life altering experience for him, on many levels - though he was particularly struck by the fact that, in the face of tremendous adversity, the bright, articulate people that he met there, were happy and welcoming.  He queried an African University student about this and the student explained that there is a saying there:  "Be comfortable in your discomfort".  Such a profound outlook and really, perhaps, the answer to many of our global problems.  Maybe if each of us could learn to live with a little less - endure a bit of discomfort … there is hope for our planet, yet.  

photo: Light in the Global Village (a picture of my son, Patrick 'caught' doing unto others) – submitted by P. Bourke

© 2019 Wendy Bourke


  1. Oh, I do hope there is hope for our planet yet, Wendy. But with each day so filled with meanness from those who are in charge sometimes it feels so hopeless. I do try to add some sweetness to the page - thus the sharing of my butterfly poem this week - but inside I am very worried about the cruelty in abundance everywhere. But - yes - we should concentrate on acts of kindness -- and try to make a difference in our little corner of the world, I guess. At least that is what I have to tell myself on difficult days.

  2. And...what a wonderful experience your son had. I am sure it WAS life changing.

  3. I resonate with your poem's hope and grief, my friend, in the midst of the pathology in which we live. Your son had a wonderful experience. I love the idea of comfort in the discomfort , the "I am well if you are well" philosophy one finds so often among the dispossessed and struggling.

  4. It is exceptionally difficult to be a poet of affirmation in a world fast dissembling into chaos. Your poem finds a way to "be comfortable with discomfort," giving two thumbs up when everything points down. Yes.

  5. Such a positive write - and i love the word fluffery

  6. Indeed. One might not be able to fix the entire world with a little light, but... said light can certainly brighten and heart or three (ours included), even if for just a moment.

  7. This is incredibly poignant!💜 I believe if we extend kindness out into the world then little by little we can make a difference 😊

  8. Sadly we are slowly killing ourselves by greed and apathy. Love and fairness, food and water and the preservation of the planet are so important for our children and grandchildren. We must be sure that they have no less than us or they will remember us with hatred.

  9. I do feel like giving up at times, but I don't! I believe we are hardwired for good, for the most part. Thanks for giving voice to this.

  10. True compassion comes from that place of selfless giving, where we transcend the literal as you mentioned, and go to that place where we give based not on our expectations but on others' needs. There is so little of that in the world, but I am always heartened when I see it.

  11. Giving up is so tempting these days in the USA. Thanks for a spot of inspiration to keep on going...and going...and going!

  12. I love your words Wendy. Especially lately, I've felt like kindness is hidden in the hearts of too many people. I guess there is indeed much meanness around, but one thing I can do is try harder to be kind myself. So wonderful that you raised a kind and compassionate son. I know that he gave a lot, but it sounds like he received much too.

  13. Such encouraging words...I, too, feel that we mustn't give up hope.

  14. the days become more cruel
    and I am … no where near ... resigned
    to throw the towel in on kindness ...
    and give up on humankind... that should be our mantra!

  15. Kindness should be contiguous. Thank you for raising a kind son.