Kindness Poem: Audio Assignment

For my Creating Multimedia Content class, I was asked to create a mash-up version of the poem “Kindness” by Naomi Shihab Nye. First I used a zoom recorder to properly record myself reciting the poem at least two times. Next, I used Premiere to edit together the poem, using the voice recordings of the other students in class. I could not use my own voice in my final project.  The project needed to use at least one cut of music from FirstCom music, at least one piece of ambient background and one sound effect from Pro Sound Effects. I also had to adjust the audio levels in Premiere so that the voice was at a full level. Using Photoshop, I created a title slide for my project and I used a photograph that I took.


by Naomi Shihab Nye

from The Words Under the Words: Selected Poems. © Eighth Mountain Press, 1995.

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
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 everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.


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