Monday, March 28, 2011

A Poem by Rebecca Babbett

(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 know that spring
is no small thing, that
the tender grasses curling
like a baby's fine hairs around
your fingers are a recurring
miracle. I want to tell you
that the river rocks shine
like God, that the crisp
voices of the orange and gold
October leaves are laughing at death,

I want to remind 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 ~


  1. Moving. Wonderful. Thank you.

  2. well that's sort of depressing...

  3. depressing yes...but it is a coming to terms that is unavoidable.

    We have lived and reveled in the best of times...thoughtless and heedless - and the reckoning is inevitable.

    The question that remains for each of us is how to respond.

  4. Gail, that's exactly how I respond. I cherish and revel in what remains, even though more and more of it vanishes before my eyes. The key to that poem is this comment:

    "anyone that notices the world"

    The problem is we are educated to not look at the world. It is educated out of the populace so that the populace will become unquestioning co-conspirators in the destruction.

  5. Saving the world requires getting your hands dirty. TV has taught us that dirt is evil. Therefore, according to TV, saving the world must also be evil.

    I'm going down to the riverbottom land to make sure some blocked up drainage will work properly and maybe save a couple of dozen trees from downing in a swampy bog.

    Imagine what 7 billion humans could do if each and every one made the space around themselves a little more earth friendly every day. How many of them still know what 'earth friendly' means?

  6. Thank you all for your comments. I keep re-reading that poem, it is so poignant.


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