We are capable of attention.

crocuses captured this week by PA IPL member Amy Ward Brimmer
crocuses captured this week by PA IPL member Amy Ward Brimmer

This poem crossed my desk as a forward of a forward.  It offers hope in beauty, in nature, in growth, which persist through the ugliness on which we sometimes dwell.  It seemed right for the first day of Spring when it’s so easy to be overwhelmed by the miracle of growth and creation.   You can find more of Rebecca Baggett’s work here.  This poem was originally published in Women’s Uncommon Prayers.

(for my daughters)

I want to tell you
that the world is still beautiful.
I tell you that despite
children raped on city streets,
shot down in school rooms,
despite the slow poisons seeping
from old and hidden sins
into our air, soil, water,
despite the thinning film
that encloses our aching world.
Despite my own terror and despair.

I want you to look again and again,
to recognize the tender grasses,
curled like a baby’s fine hairs
around your fingers, as a recurring
miracle, to see that the river rocks
shine like God, that the crisp
voices of the orange and gold
October leaves are laughing at death.
I want you to look beneath
the grass, to note
the fragile hieroglyphs
of ant, snail, beetle.  I want
you to understand that you are
no more and no less necessary
than the brown recluse, the ruby-
throated hummingbird, the humpback
whale, the profligate mimosa.

I want to say, like Neruda,
that I am waiting for
“a great and common tenderness,”
that I still believe
we are capable of attention,
that anyone who notices the world
must want to save it.

—Rebecca Baggett
reprinted here by permission by the author

courtesy of PA IPL member Dee Ann Wylie
courtesy of PA IPL member Dee Ann Wylie

Editor’s note: In getting permission from the author to share her words, I also learned that her congregation is a member of Georgia IPL, and past recipient of a GIPPY.