“When Giving is all We Have” (a recitation)

One river gives
Its journey to the next.


We give because someone gave to us.
We give because nobody gave to us.

We give because giving has changed us.
We give because giving could have changed us.

We have been better for it,
We have been wounded by it—

Giving has many faces: It is loud and quiet,
Big, though small, diamond in wood-nails.

Its story is old, the plot worn and the pages too,
But we read this book, anyway, over and again:

Giving is, first and every time, hand to hand,
Mine to yours, yours to mine.

You gave me blue and I gave you yellow.
Together we are simple green. You gave me

What you did not have, and I gave you
What I had to give—together, we made

Something greater from the difference.

Poem, “When Giving is all We Have,” by Alberto Rios
Alberto Rios, Arizona Poet Laureate

Born in Nogales, Arizona, in 1952, Alberto Rios has been the Arizona Poet Laureate since 2013. From 2014 to 2020 he served as Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Holding a BA degree and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Arizona, he has been the director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University since 2017.

Ríos has written several books of poetry and prose and is the recipient of several awards. His book titles include, Not Go Away is My Name, The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body, Whispering to Fool the Wind, and the novel The Iguana Killer: Twelve Stories of the Heart. His awards include, the Walt Whitman Award, the Western States Book Award, six Pushcart Prizes in both poetry and fiction, the Arizona Governor’s Arts Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Biographical information: Poets.org Featured poem: “When Giving is all We Have.”

Personal note: The ASU Piper Center for Creative Writing, directed by Rios, included my poem, “Buried Roots,” in their Anthology (2020). 🎉 I had the privilege of participating in a live poetry reading prior to the anthology launch. What an honor! (poem not published on my blog)

Thank you for visiting, viewing, and reading. Wishing you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season! 💗 Michele

Find my photos, reels, and micropoetry on Instagram~ @mlsefton

Check out my Pinterest account~ “TumbleweedSpirit” (my artist daughter, Sammi Lee, created and maintains this site. It is gorgeous!)

Photo: Anna Shvets (Pexels)

© 2021 Michele Lee Sefton`

70 thoughts on ““When Giving is all We Have” (a recitation)

  1. Timothy Price

    I really like the poem. Excellent recitation. One comment on the sound. You are getting a lot of reverb from the room. If you have a way of hanging something to absorb the reverb. like blankets or towels, on either side of you out of view of the camera, that will help clear up your voice.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Timothy. 🙏🏻 I really appreciate your helpful tips. Speaking of sound, my video attempt was interrupted by barking dogs, loud trucks, a jet flyover, and screaming kids outside. 😆 I will try your suggestion, or I may just curl up in the blanket and take a nap. 😂 I used a robot cameraman this time – the “Apai Genie.” Pros: my phone easily attached to the device, which easily attached to my tripod. It has an easy-to-use app which has features like, following the video subject. Cons: it did not always work, and the video quality seems a bit distorted, which might be my phone. Not sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for giving of your time to provide visitors with a wonderful recitation of this poem, Michele. It is said that ‘variety is the spice of life’, and that together, by people sharing with one another, we complement each other in creating a synergy which elevates both. I appreciate you sharing, and, if I may say so, you look as beautiful as a desert rose. 🌞🌹 Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are welcome, Phil. I would rather read and recite poetry than spend time in holiday shopping lines, or many other things that are less enjoyable. Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your thoughts about the synergy created when people share their talents and gifts with others. 🙏🏻 Wishing you the same. 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh what a beautiful and compelling recitation Michele. 🙏🏼 When giving is all we have to give, we are changed by it, and it is truly humbling when it’s done from the heart and soul. 💖🥰❤ I love your passion Michele! The warmth these words invoke the kindness we share and how we become a better person as a result! 👏🏼 Here’s to a great weekend my dear! 🥂 You make me feel like dancin’, I wanna dance the night away! 💃🏽🎵💃🏼

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kym, for your loving support and for sharing your heart, light, and soul. 💕Gifts for all of us! I agree, these warm words flood me with emotion, especially the last three lines. Cheers to that and to you! 🥂 Happy Anniversary weekend to you and your love. 💞

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m verklempt again! 😭 You certainly know how to weave your words and sentiments into a Disney World theme park my Dancing Queen! 💃🏼🎉🎢✨🎠🎆🎡 Thank you for being genuine, kind, loving, and encouraging. You simply glow with positive energy, and you never hesitate to give all you have from your heart!!! Here’s lookin’ at you kid!!! 💐🥂🦋

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate the contrasts too – echoing life. Happy to share a bit about Rios and his poem. Thank you, Jeff. My pleasure to give a little time and share some giving lines. 😁 Best to you during the holiday week. 🎄🎅🏻🎁

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Dwight. Beautifully said. I listened to an audio of the Poet, Alberto Rios, reading the poem. He described it as a poem of thanks, including for people who volunteer. I love that. 💖 Happy Holidays to you and your family.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Wonderful words, Cindy. Thank you! I appreciate your visit and lovely comment. 💖 Sorry for the delayed response – I found your comment in my spam folder. 😞 I suppose I should check that pesky folder more frequently.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So lovely reply message dear 🌷🙏❤️ Same wishes to you my dear 👏:)
        My son ok, but his place worst flood happened, sea water also made
        So much damage, few people died ,70000 thousand people staying
        Shelters and very pity 😥 Government and people helping them 🌷🙏🌷

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for giving us this beautiful recital, dear Michele !💕 you are the best lady to read this lovely poem for you are truly the embodiment of kindness, compassion, beauty, and grace in this poem, as well as in your person!

    Send much love and gratitude to you! Have a charming and magical Christmas 🎄!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is my joy to share. Thank you for visiting and appreciating, Annabel. Your words and loving support mean so much to me. 💝 Wishing you, beautiful dancing poet, all the joy, wonder, peace, and love this season (and beyond) has to offer. 💖🌟💐

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I discovered it a few days before my share when I was searching for a holiday poem. It stood out to me from the others I read, and I thought it fun to highlight an Arizona poet. Thank you for listening and enjoying, Jaya. I am grateful.🙏🏼

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a beautiful poem to be shared at this time of the year! Love the recitation too! I have always believed in giving, sometimes I think I give too much.. Hehe. But then I feel life is too short to keep the gifts of being alive only within ourselves. 🥰🤗🙏❤️🌹

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Diana. What a beautiful comment. 💖 Your giving nature is evident in your beautiful poetry. As a giver, I can relate, and I agree with you. 🎁 I believe everything you give so graciously will come back to you tenfold, Diana. Wishing you a holiday season full of love, joy, wonder, and deliciousness!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Michele, I love this poem. It shows in seemingly simple words that giving and not giving can change something in us.
    Here in Germany they say: “These are the real givers who give in order to give, but not in order to receive.” This is a quote from Wilhelm Vogel (19th / 20th century).
    Thank you, Michele, for this wonderful poem.
    Michele, I wish you and your family a merry Christmas! ❤️ 🎅🎁 🎄
    Keep well, happy and safe.
    Rosie

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Pingback: “When Giving is all We Have” (a recitation) – white king

  8. We give because someone gave to us.
    We give because nobody gave to us.

    These lines felt so real in so many layers of my being. This poem soothed my soul. The simplicity of giving and the richness it creates is beyond beautiful to experince.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s