People Come Into Our Lives . . .

POETRY FORMAT, 19 Nov 2012

Anthony Marsella, Ph.D. – TRANSCEND Media Service

People enter our lives at unexpected times
Changing us in profound ways . . .
A glance, a smile or frown,
A word — spoken or written —
An act of kindness or harm.

Some remain in our lives for a lifetime,
“Others” for a moment.
Whatever it may be,
The entry of “others” into our lives
Is always an encounter of consequence,
Not to be treated lightly,
Nor dismissed as chance.

The entry into our lives of “others”
Is to be pursued — explored, understood,
For it is more than it seems,
It is a sealing of minds, lives, and spirits.
It is a connection.

I was blessed yesterday to meet a man
— A person of color –
A man of quiet dignity,
His years honed by life lived amidst
Doubts and uncertainties,
Unanwered questions,
A man — humble and sincere.

I listened as he spoke of his life.
Not a frozen written narrative,
But an unfolding of his heart.
Graceful words,
Magnified in meaning
By the deliberate meter of his speech.
A sacred moment.

The man spoke of his lifetime search — his longing
For a home — not a house — but a home —
A place, anchor, refuge . . .  for his soul.
A grounded piece of earth,
Upon which he could stand,
Plant roots, grow, and become.
A place where he could say:
“I am home.”

I was changed by his words.
He may never know this
Unless along the way,
He finds this poem.
But no more needs to be said.

I will remember his lined face,
Gentle voice,
Deep set eyes,
Peaceful countenance . . .
All shaping the moment,
Affirming — forever —
There is no “other.”
Thank you, Clive.

October 29, 2012


Anthony Marsella, Ph.D., a  member of the TRANSCEND Network, is a past president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii, and past director of the World Health Organization Psychiatric Research Center in Honolulu. He is known nationally and internationally as a pioneer figure in the study of culture and psychopathology who challenged the ethnocentrism and racial biases of many assumptions, theories, and practices in psychology and psychiatry. In more recent years, he has been writing and lecturing on peace and social justice. He has published 15 edited books, and more than 250 articles, chapters, book reviews, and popular pieces. He can be reached at


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 19 Nov 2012.

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