Compassion – a poem


I’ve never been to the fjords, the tall cliffs looming.
Nor have I seen the glacial cliffs spawning icebergs
into the sea. Except in film. Yet I know these places.

How do we get from the water to the forests?
We all know the deep meaning of icebergs and
the difficulty of scaling cliffs without proper equipment.

A life dodging icebergs and crashing into cliffs is not
how we want to dream our children into being.
A person who grew up between the gavel and the sound block

seeks to soften the blows of life for her child. But it is just as possible
to drown in heart’s blood as to smother under the crushing blow,
to chase a daughter into steep rock as to siren-sing a son to hidden ice.

When we try to counter judgment, too much love may swallow us.
Love and judgment birth compassion from their wild affair.
Compassion pours joy into the world at the source of creation.

How do we cut our children out of our own skin and survive?
My daughter asked me to walk across campus with her
to her voice lessons. Such a gift of time together, how do I

let go and watch her walk away? When do I say goodbye?
How do you birth a child from your most sacred body
and set that being free? You wrote to me asking if I wanted

you and your son to join me because “we speak Hebrew.”
Such a gift of language, you and he grammatically joined.
Let our children scale cliffs and dodge icebergs.

Let us teach them to navigate between pounding of hammer
and heart. Let them find the forests of compassion in the night,
joy in the day. Let us learn to set our sons and daughters free.

—Michael Dickel

Compassion @2015 Michael Dickel Digital art from photograph
@2015 Michael Dickel
Digital art from photograph


I curate The Poet by Day, and am a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. The Poet by Day [] is an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights. Email for permissions, commissions, or assignments. I am also the founding editor of "The BeZine" and manage all associated activities. Email:

2 thoughts on “Compassion – a poem

  1. I love this line: Love and judgment birth compassion from their wild affair.
    Compassion – the Middle Way between Love and Judgment – the way we suffer together as the human race….definitely something to ponder as we live it out.

    Liked by 1 person

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