Topics | Compassion | The Sun Magazine #2

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Compassion

Photography

On The Streets Of San Francisco

Most days, within a block of my house in San Francisco, I’ll encounter someone who is unhoused. Since 2011 I have befriended and photographed unhoused people, and the experience has changed me in a way I never would have imagined. . . . One man said to me, “Most people see us as drunks, but you talk to us and see our humanity.” This is what I hope my photographs convey.

Text And Photographs By Joseph Johnston January 2023
Quotations

Sunbeams

It is hard to argue that housing is not a fundamental human need. Decent, affordable housing should be a basic right for everybody in this country. The reason is simple: without stable shelter, everything else falls apart.

Matthew Desmond

January 2023
Quotations

Sunbeams

Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue. . . . Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say, Napoleonic times.

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

October 2022
Poetry

Jump

Because my car is twenty years old / and the gizmo that goes ding ding ding / when you leave the lights on / has been busted for at least a decade, / I’m always contending with a comatose battery.

By Alison Luterman August 2022
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Every Baby Needs To Be Rocked

I want to help carry the burden when it is heaviest. The dying patients and their families need time with a compassionate stranger: someone they don’t have to expend their fragile energy to try to support or protect.

By Barbara Woodmansee April 2022
The Dog-Eared Page

Riding Out At Evening

At dusk, everything blurs and softens. / From here out over the long valley, / the fields and hills pull up / the first slight sheets of evening, / as, over the next hour,  / heavier, darker ones will follow.

By Linda McCarriston February 2022
Fiction

The Other Side Of The Mountain

This was what it was like to do the work she did, to recognize the person in the dying body and to stay with them — like bearing witness to light moving through wreckage, stubborn and pure.

By Ruby Shaw July 2021
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

The Quiet Room

She read a brief passage in a small, clear voice that will live on in my memory. Fluent in sounding out words she didn’t know, she gleaned tones from everyday verbs that I’d never dreamed they possessed, and conferred a strange new life on faded old nouns, as one might draw a hidden thread of some brilliant color from an old rug.

By M. Jones April 2021
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Small Animals

A few times a year, especially in spring, one of my cats clambers through the flap in the door carrying some fresh dilemma for me.

By Anna Hartford April 2021
Poetry

Backyard Mercy

A fruit fly fell in my fine crystal glass / half full of five-dollar wine. / Annoyed, I almost flung the final sips / behind a rosebush.

By Rachael Petersen April 2021