(Apologies to Wislawa Szymborska)

Attentive to all in a conversation:
Ten percent of the population. 
Someone's shame provokes a laugh:
Often true for over half. 
Ready and willing to reconcile:
Rare below the top quintile. 
Twenty percent, plus-or-minus three:
Those who’ll let an eccentric be. 
Almost three out of every four
Are quick to pity the sick or poor,
But doing something to counter hate: 
No more than one in any eight. 
Scoring high on all these measures:
We've found no such human treasures.
Of compassion, pure examples?
One or two in all our samples. 
But needing someone’s forgiving love:
Ninety-nine percent thereof.

See also: Cuttings: A book about happiness

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About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.