A peaceful childlike tone is projected throughout the collection, from the illustrations accompanying the poetry to the poems themselves. The elementary style paints a clear picture of what the poem hopes to accomplish; supporting peace, tranquility, and a meat free life style. However Kindness conveys this tone in the least threatening way imaginable. Rather then explicitly stating that one should abstain from eating meat, it highlights the benefits of becoming vegetarian and the spiritual aspects which accompany such a decision.
As the preface in Kindness states, “Each poem opens a window onto a world where animals are souls who temporarily inhabit bodies different from ours, but who, like us, are moving towards enlightenment and liberation from suffering”. This approach humanizes animals in a way in which no person could imagine inflicting pain on another individual. Therefore the poems bridge the human and animal world together establishing a connection which is hard to break.
We see the importance of considering others, both human and animal alike, in the poem entitled “Starting Point of Compassion”. This poem combines the importance of respecting animals with the importance of respecting fellow human beings. The poem reads:
“Don’t say that insects’ lives don’t count, Don’t say it’s alright to let them drown, Did you know that just one thought of compassion, Is where basic human kindness begins?”
The poem revolves around the issue of kindness, a dilemma in society today. Therefore Kindness is not only a collection of vegetarian poetry but it also functions as a tale; providing a moral at the end of its story. In the case of “Starting Point of Compassion”, it suggests exactly what its title states; that compassion is a necessary starting point for all human beings. This rule translates into every aspect of life.
While some poems focused strictly on the positive transition to vegetarianism and support for animal rights, other poems showed the contrast between those who are and those who are not part of the movement. These poems highlighted the differences among vegetarians and meat eaters. In one poem in particular, “Song for Lovers of Fish” the closing line reads, “With different hearts we take delight in watching perch and trout, I have come to feed the fish, they’ve come to hook them out”. The poem shows the differences between those who support animal rights and those who do not.
While the words are powerful, it is the images which accompany them, that truly drive the point home. Included alongside the poem is the image of a young boy, looking into the water at the fish below with a distraught look on his face. Over his shoulder, a boat floats in the water with numerous fishing lines drawn in the water. The stark contrast between the young innocent boy and the boat of fisherman portrays the sadness which is inflicted upon killing animals; portraying the fishermen as villains. This point is expressed through the poetry and enhanced by the images which are also included.
While the poems do not always raise a new point or argument, they do remind the reader that humans and animals are connected throughout life as well as the fact that we all have a strong connection to the earth. Thus by speaking about this connection we realize the interdependencies of life and once again become in touch with each other. The poem “Protecting Life” emphasizes connection in life and stress the importance of considering each other. Its closing lines read, “Creatures’ lives were given to them by nature, tell the children not to take life lightly”.
“Protecting Life” reminds us that not only should we take care of ourselves as well as each other during our time on earth, but that this time is also limited; making the issue even more pressing. Taking the example of children, which are typically associated with innocence, it becomes apparent that we are the teachers and must provide a good example for the youth. One way of doing this is by respecting life and those around us, which includes animals. This is the overall message of Kindness.
Although vegetarianism is reflected in the poetry of Kindness, the collection holds a stronger correlation to peace and connectedness among individuals and the earth. It is when we feel this commitment to one another that we truly begin to understand ourselves and develop an appreciation for the world around us. Kindness hopes that as we develop this appreciation it extends to animals and their rights. Therefore the collection of poems presents vegetarianism in a light hearted, relatable way in which any many individuals can relate. To view Kindness online click here.