Antidote to Despair

It’s midterm election day in the States today. And no matter which way the results go, whether you exalt or despair, it is historic. There is a general feeling that this is make or break time for democracy. Plenty anxiety has been shared online and in private conversations. But then I read a Facebook post this morning by a friend living in Atlanta, Georgia. And this is where my gratitude comes in for today’s poetry practice. And it is important to sing the everyday heroes, who get up and volunteer and keep the shebang from making it feel like the hand basket is on hell fire.

So no matter how things turn out, get up tomorrow and give of your free time for free for something bigger for the good of all. That’s Wendy’s secret. And this is in praise of those who give lifts, listen in hard places, tend food banks, collect donations, distribute good will. And all the rest. This is us at our best.


The Antidote for Despair


This is for Wendy of Atlanta, Georgia

Be grateful for all those volunteers


This is for you, Wendy, who knows

the secret antidote for despair,

and shares. Which is the first part, giving.

This is the first strand in the weaving

of the civic web. Give it away free.

This is the secret to redemption.

Also, its primary grace. Practice

in the polis on micro-level

this universal lacing. That is,

love casts out fear. It’s getting to know

neighbours far and near. Seeing their faces.

Getting to know new names, their stories,

how which of them have problems with kids.

That’s how sharing starts to halve the shame.

It puts kindness back into kindred,

because empathy always out votes blame.

It mends the unravelled and taunted.

Its silk is as strong as steel. Its web

is well-made to cradle a nation.


Copyright © Bee Smith 2018

3 thoughts on “Antidote to Despair

    1. Suffering and death is part of the human condition. What we can do to alleviate suffering, how we comfort those that mourn defines us. I think friend Wendy has found a way through by engaging on a local level to bring about changes that will help alleviate suffering. Was it Hafiz or Rumi (or both?) who advised to give it all away. Be in solidarity with the suffering and do what you can. Accept that you cannot heal it all. This is a collective effort. One can only play one’s part,to be present when it is time to weave your individual thread into the weft of the great tapestry.


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