COMPASSION a poem by Bette A. Stevens

Bette A. Stevens, Maine Author

compassion-poem-bas-2017Compassion is…

Compassion in life is a beautiful thing. But exactly what is compassion? I’ve always thought of compassion as love in action. After writing the poem COMPASSION, I searched Google to find a definition. The synonyms fit perfectly into my preconceived notion for the poem because they not only included love and mercy, each synonym requires action (stirring) on our part to metamorphose the ideaof compassion into the realty of compassion.

May compassion reign in our hearts and hands.

~ Bette A. Stevens

Google Search:


noun: compassion; plural noun: compassions

sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.

“the victims should be treated with compassion”

synonyms:pity, sympathy, empathy, fellow feeling, care, concern, solicitude, sensitivity, warmth, love, tenderness, mercy, leniency, tolerance, kindness, humanity, charity

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5 thoughts on “COMPASSION a poem by Bette A. Stevens

    • Thinking philosophically, one might consider how compassion could ever be an idea. Compassion literally means ‘suffering with’ another, or taking the suffering of another as one’s own.

      There are no ideas that are adequate for this. To form an idea is to have some kind of mental image, and there are no mental images that correspond to pain, which is an essential part of suffering. It is well known that after the actual experience of pain, there is no memory of the actual pain. All that can be remembered is the event in which the pain occurred.

      So in order for compassion to occur, it can only be as a spontaneous feeling, prior to which there was no idea of what that would be. To feel the sufferings of others, as if they are one’s own, cannot be conceived beforehand or premeditated in any way.

      Since compassion is not an idea then no amount of stirring (into action) could produce compassion as a reality.

      Compassion is always unique; a complete singularity that cannot be adequately explained in scientific terms. Perhaps this is why associated with compassion is an idea, not of compassion itself, but of a divine agency (spirit) that is the source of compassion.


  1. David, I think compassion is a singular experience in that it brings together the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual in a coordinated way that impels one to action, unlike fear or anger which suppress some of the above and can lead to either action or inaction (paralysis).


    • I like that thought Mary. I’m not so much on the side of treating “the idea” of compassion separately to compassion (the feeling that impels one to act). I have no idea of what compassion is apart from having the feeling. Any ideas I have associated with compassion have to do with the sort of people for whom compassion is needed (the sick, disabled, discriminated against, and so on.) One might even feel compassion for the perpetrators of injustice, but then one would have to ensure one did not condone the injustice. I think in this way ideas have a role as regulators of feelings, even feelings such as compassion. Justice and mercy are not the same. One might deliver justice mercifully, or unmercifully. Knowing this, one wants the deliverers of justice to be those who feel compassion, but not those who are so compassionate they never deliver justice.


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