Charles Bukowski

(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994 / Andernach)

Be Kind

Poem by Charles Bukowski

we are always asked
to understand the other person's
no matter how
foolish or

one is asked
to view
their total error
their life-waste
especially if they are

but age is the total of
our doing.
they have aged
because they have
out of focus,
they have refused to

not their fault?

whose fault?

I am asked to hide
my viewpoint
from them
for fear of their

age is no crime

but the shame
of a deliberately

among so many


Comments about Be Kind by Charles Bukowski

  • Smoky HossSmoky Hoss (12/25/2019 9:35:00 PM)

    I wonder if Bukowski felt that writing this poem, amongst so many others, was a crime or a waste...(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • David (8/27/2019 12:09:00 AM)

    OH SHl..... This man ruthlessly lit garbage moral customs on fire 50 years ago in the name of truth and withdrawal. It’s not beautiful like a flower, it’s beautiful like cold justice.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Mahtab BangaleeMahtab Bangalee (3/21/2019 4:13:00 AM)

    excellent poetic expression-

    age is no crime

    but the shame
    of a deliberately

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Britte NinadBritte Ninad (8/10/2018 12:47:00 AM)

    so interesting poem and asking-

    not their fault?

    whose fault?


    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Lily IvesLily Ives (7/4/2018 10:58:00 PM)

    10 out of 10. Straight on target and raw. Although I do believe you can still exercise compassion, but you don't need to understand them to be able to cultivate it.(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Kiran PillaiKiran Pillai (5/30/2018 3:31:00 AM)

    Age..... I get a little bit of it. Age gracefully or you yourself may fall out of grace. Beautiful(Report)Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Mizzy ........Mizzy ........ (9/10/2016 4:52:00 PM)

    No messing with this man.....(Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Enoch JohnEnoch John (5/10/2016 3:37:00 PM)

    quite frank i guess as Bukowski is apt to be!(Report)Reply

    7 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Raymond Farrell (4/8/2016 2:24:00 AM)

    I am over 60 myself and as the population is aging I encounter more and more useless people who have wasted their lives and upon getting old someone seem to demand respect and I refuse to give it unless it is deserved(Report)Reply

    5 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Thomas CaseThomas Case (12/1/2015 8:26:00 AM)

    very's like a hammer.....respect the aged they say...kindness is one thing.......admiration is another, Bukowski is the most unpretentious poet I've ever read.(Report)Reply

    8 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Mohammed Asim Nehal (10/2/2015 1:59:00 PM)

    Straight poem, it is like dart straight on target, Well written.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Dan Lee (11/2/2014 1:36:00 AM)

    How true that we are ironically asked to be kind while people are living lives that are unexamined and dictated by herds that lead to nothingness. Bukowski cuts through things with honesty and without pretense.(Report)Reply

    10 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • Rebecca LytleRebecca Lytle (5/1/2014 6:27:00 PM)

    Thadious Worthington: You have lived your life out of focus and are foolish. You are also yucky. Please go away and take your teeny-bopper like angst with you, you are neither amusing nor thought-provoking. In fact, I am sure that reading your comment has actually sucked some of the thoughts out of my brain. Thank God they weren't very good ones.(Report)Reply

    17 person liked.
    46 person did not like.
  • Thadious Worthington (12/2/2013 8:37:00 PM)

    This is the judgmental nonsense that I have heard from alcoholics. They are all fearful of being judged but never pass up a chance to do the judging themselves. Who is anyone to determine that you lived out of focus or are foolish. Yuck.(Report)Reply

    70 person liked.
    38 person did not like.
  • Sherry Campeau (8/1/2013 7:30:00 PM)

    I love this man...wish he was still writing(Report)Reply

    12 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • like flying (10/24/2009 3:02:00 AM)

    everything he writes is just so simply true.(Report)Reply

    39 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • Roger Cornish (10/4/2008 8:44:00 AM)

    Bukowski.....The most under rated poet of the 20th Century.....
    Only the level of alianation he experienced can produce that kind of spirit.(Report)Reply

    30 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • George Makris (10/2/2008 9:30:00 AM)

    AGE wasted life... age is a cool dry beast inside us all
    it crushes dreams and stops the mind
    and rules the

    8 person liked.
    17 person did not like.
  • Alex Klein (1/28/2008 12:11:00 AM)

    Aw crap, here I go again!

    There's a lot of people I've met in libraries who take there presence there in itself as meaning something. Full-fledged snoberry. There's the 'actual' quite person in that very library who might actually be way beyond that snobery for sure. But, more often than not; they're few. Or so it would seem. I don't frequent libraries that often. But it seems that every time I do, I'm teetering on the edge of that kind of reaction. People wrapped up in the classics looking over their shoulders at anyone that might make a noise; like some punk or something. I was dressed up in my usual clothes; sort of half skater, half stoner (I don't like those black and white terms, but I'll go with them for the purpose of description) , and I went up to the lady working the computer...I asked for Huxley's 'The Doors of Perception'. The girl started looking to see if the book was available. I was then somewhat 'attacked' by this women to my right. I say attacked, but I actually thouroughly enjoyed her fight. She looked me up and down while saying that I was just looking for books about drugs by drug addicts that are taken far too seriously. I said that a drug does'nt have an opinion. And I think I smiled at her like a lunatic after that, but felt so embarassed and idiotic. Inside I wanted to add a lot more to my deffence, but I'm not good with aggresive moments. The girl working there told me they did'nt have the book and I noticed the girl who I'd argued with smiling in the corner of my eye. I had quite a bit of time on my hands that day, and the only thing I regret is not having invited that bitter girl for a seat or two and a good argument beyond that awkward space in front of the nervous girl who was trying not to laugh and smile. I cycled home on my bike imagining all the things I could have said in my deffence. The usual.

    It reminds me of scenes where a father, or mother or any family member can't take the mad lifestyle of their loved-ones but then retires to bed beneath a copy of a Van Gaugh painting and reads a writer who eventually killed themselves.(Report)Reply

    22 person liked.
    14 person did not like.
  • Alex Klein (1/27/2008 11:45:00 PM)

    Michael Speakman: Maybe they're not THAT bad. Maybe I am'nt understanding you though. But if you really feel 'they' are., should'nt you wonder about your kindness that ou speak of? Judges and all that...Maybe I did'nt spot you're sarchasm though. Were you?(Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    12 person did not like.
Read all 26 comments »

Be Kind Score Card

User Rating:
3,4 / 5 (249 votes)25

Read this poem in other languages

What do you think this poem is about?

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Poem Edited: Monday, July 4, 2005

[Report Error]