shades between compassion between shades

just or not is what– exactly?
sit on rot, suj/ets
things that make no sense (to us),
no, make that (hidden) things seen,
doesn’t matter which direction,

she works with disabled kids,
& we eat sausages, drink red wine
on a bench without a backrest, things shift,
shift things back(to)rest without–

“she’ll be blind soon,
we’re preparing her for it– best as we can”
fragile, shards, moths with velvet wings,
my wings velWet with (splashed) moths,
we try to stabilize, ezilibats (yeah, i told you,
it’s difficult if we don’t see with the heart)

turn it around, circle around it, turn/
her eyes, shades between compassion–
& compassion between shades of what is
hard to understand,

“i admire what you do” i say,
& say, i do spell it backward, trying to
understand too hard is what shades
between compassion’s left/maybe


we’re writing palindromes at dVerse today where things can be read in more than one direction, be it words or lines– i embedded mostly line palindromes here.

the poem was sparked by a conversation at a party about a friend’s work with disabled kids, she told me a bit about the 2-6 year old kids in her group and it really hit me hard, i didn’t talk much that evening, was just listening and really admire her for what she’s doing 


37 responses to “shades between compassion between shades

  1. I am spelling forward and backward all the time … trying to make sense of this crazy life … have been working psych for more than 30 years … still wonder whether my patients are maybe more sane than I am, because they see and hear things that I don’t have access to … in a way I’m jealous …crazy, eh?

    • “i admire what you do” i say,
      & say, i do spell it backward, trying to
      understand too hard is what shades
      between compassion’s left/maybe”

      Thanks, for sharing and your very heart-breaking poetic [palindromes]words with [so much] hope, compassion, and admiration meeting…

      (yeah, i told you,
      it’s difficult if we don’t see with the heart)

      I think that you and your poetic words are truly… wonderful !

      deedee 🙂

  2. smiles. you have some cool palindromes embedded in your verse…she works with disabled kids & we eat sausages….the contrast in those two images up front is strong…it is difficult if we dont see with our hearts…these are kids i love smiles, i def understand that…not easy work your friend does as well…

  3. “we eat sausages, drink red wine
    on a bench without a backrest, things shift” –

    and to sit and listen may be the best and most useful thing we can do sometimes, glad you mentioned that, and reminded me, thank you claudia 😉

  4. Most of my career was working with children and adults with disabilities…I have long given up trying to make sense of the “why” this happened…no greater meaning than caring…your poem touched a nerve my friend.

  5. A profession I could never undertake… my heart would break again and again with each new door that opens. A girlfriend and I were talking about how her daughter is bipolar and mine has Aspergers. She asked, “Do you think it was the drugs we took?” I said, “If it was, could we possibly blame ourselves any more?”

    Looking at comments… this one hit a different chord with each of us. You may get the saddest pop song in the world if you put it all together… Peace, Amy

  6. You seem to have terrific fun with the form, and the subject is both tender & astute. My wife & I work with the blind, she with disabled kids, me with older adults. I was not brave enough to work with the DD kids; watching a 4 year old go blind while I was in graduate school scarred my heart & soul.

  7. You never fail to impress me with your topics and seemingly effortless way with words. I deeply admire those who can do such selfless work with the disadvantaged.

  8. Did your friend show you the tools she was using for her teaching? did she use blocks.or scrabble blocks, a mirror? Sounds fascinating as a teaching method.

  9. I love the poem–I read several times (once, admittedly, just to find palindromes)–love the import, the medium, beautiful, funny,poignant–I have so much respect for my son’s teachers. Thank you for this!

  10. stunning. I’ve been reflecting a lot these past few weeks, specifically with autism since it is Autism Awareness Month. it truly is amazing the compassion, drive and love these individuals who have the chance to work with such a unique and amazing group of young children.

    I enjoyed the little bits of palindromes thrown in, somehow I think it fits the topic quite well.

  11. very very profound… had me much more than the form of verse itself…just the way i had found the hostess of this bar write…where the form is in the verses and not the other way round which, tends to be…. wonderful wonderful and hats of to your friend…..Life never misses an exclamation mark…!…Does it!?!

  12. It definitely takes a special person to do this kind of work, which though heartbreaking at times, can also be rewarding when progress is made. It also takes a special person to listen, as I am sure she needed someone who would listen to her as you did.

  13. Pingback: Listening to Autism (a dedication) | Lila's Twist

  14. I had a hard time following this poem. The background info helped a little. But then, palindromes are hard to create in such a way that they are really meaningful in both directions — that coupled with the fact that many poets sometimes are very willing to sacrifice meaning for sound and feel — even if only to themselves. Well, unless you “can see the heart.”

    So I thought I’d play with another element of your poem – the word “Compassion”. Since your mother tongue is German, I decided to see some of the various words in German could be translated for the broad English word “Compassion”. There is one sense of “Compassion” that I enjoy in English: it is to do what is good for the other but not out of a feeling of Love, but because of a sort of deep-felt sympathy. Thus the act may not always appear kind or loving but is geared toward the well-being of the other.

    I explored these German words used to translate “compassion” and they did not seem to fit what I was looking.

    Mitleid : to suffer with
    Mitgefühl: to feel with
    Gnädigkeit: forgiving, merciful

    But this word did. Could you tell me what you think?

    Barmherzigkeit: “bärm”= yeast proto-indo-european: =to cook, bake. Barm may also be dialect for bosom — so “bosomy-heart-ness” “warm-heartedness”? Oddly, perhaps related to “erbarmen” – to have pity: to have warmth?

    What is your sense of this word?

  15. Very moving, Claudia–so awful to think of preparing someone to go blind.

    Monster one very cute too. It is hard for me to comment so will say that here. K.