The Rhythm of Each

I think each comfort we manage-
each holding in the night, each opening
of a wound, each closing of a wound, each
pulling of a splinter or razored word, each
fever sponged, each dear thing given
to someone in greater need-each
passes on the kindness we've known.

For the human sea is made of waves
that mount and merge till the way a
nurse rocks a child is the way that child
all grown rocks the wounded, and how
the wounded, allowed to go on, rock
strangers who in their pain
don't seem so strange.

Eventually, the rhythm of kindness
is how we pray and suffer by turns,
and if someone were to watch us
from inside the lake of time, they
wouldn't be able to tell if we are
dying or being born.

- Mark Nepo