So here’s the my by-heart recital of Across The Way:
I have learnt a lot from this poem. The deepest lesson has come from internalising the interplay between the I-You that the poem leads one into experiencing.
I am sending an SOS signal from the eye of my tempest
The “eye” being that lonely “I” too, perhaps most lonesome when feeling its waiting as a sui generis state. Paradoxically the only way out of that self-consuming fix is to acknowledge, within one’s own crevasse, everyone else who has fallen by the wayside. Of which there are many. If not all of us.
So without explicitly stating it, this is a poem that really takes us into the realm of Kindness as sketched out by Naomi Shihab Nye, which is the next poem I’m going to be learning:
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.