In our third lunchtime poetry video, Muhammad Ahmadi reads Imagine Kindness in Kiswahili

As part of this week’s Coventry Welcomes festival, we’ve been working with Ethiopian poet Biruk Kebede, who has written an original poem in honour of the occasion.

Titled Imagine Kindness, the poem has been written in Biruk’s native Amharic, which you can hear him reading along with an English translation here. Lunchtime poetry sessions will continue throughout the week, with new translations shared at 12.30pm each day.

In today’s video, Muhammad Ahmadi reads a version of the poem in Kiswahili. Below the video, you can also read the essence of the poem in English. Find out more about our Coventry Welcomes programme here.

Imagine Kindness

by Biruk Kebede


When I imagined kindness and meditated on it;
The flourishing of humanity
Overwhelmed me with joy and hope.

I saw a new paradigm in my imagination:
Love spreading around the world,
The human race as one.

I saw kind hearts helping kind hearts,
Regardless of difference, without discrimination,
All dividing gaps narrowed, filled and levelled.

I saw justice spreading over all the world like a pandemic.

When we are conquered by love and bring salvation to others,
When we enable our ears to hear the crying of the poor,
When we open our eyes to the pain and suffering in the world,

When there is no more war,
When there is no more killing,
When there is no more room for hatred,

When “we” replaces “I” and
We live together in love and harmony,
Then life will birth its meaning.

We must have compassion for ourselves.
We must be free from guilt.
For if our inner world is dark, how can we bring light to the world?

When kindness grows from our thoughts
And roots deeply in our hearts,
We will express it with kind words, followed by kind deeds.

An invisible enemy in this strange time
Gives us no choice but to distance,
Unable to tend our loved ones in sickness and in death.

Too tiny for the eye, this virus
Is taking thousands of lives, infiltrating country, after country, after country…
And no border can stop its spread.

But if we humble ourselves, it has a lesson to teach us:
That kindness matters and
Caring for each other brings us close together.

Let us open our hearts to love,
Let distancing be only physical,
And let us bind our spirits into one.