Testimony

Testimony
(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 from Women’s Uncommon Prayers: Our Lives Revealed, Nurtured, Celebrated

 

 

-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts

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6 Responses

  1. That is truly beautiful, Christine. Thank you…you have introduced me to so many new authors and your lovely artwork.

    I am just returning from my retreat in the lovely Black Hills of South Dakota. This is number five here and we have a little “contingent” who come again and again. The best thing was the respect people showed for each other…it was the full range spiritually and politically…and people listened so well to each other and let them speak their own truth. That made it all worthwhile.

    I am glad I will be able to come and visit more often1

  2. Thanks Karla, what fun resources you mention! Yes the end of that poem really moves me as well.

    You’re welcome Me, it has been stirring in me all week, so I knew I had to share it.

    Antony, we must be on the same poetic frequency :-) You are most welcome, glad it was the right words for this morning.

    Thanks Wendy, I am still listening to that deep place it has touched in me.

  3. Wow. I don’t know what i am more moved by, the writing or the pictures….this goes to a very deep place….

    A Blessed Week…Wendy

  4. Christine,
    The poems you post here always seem to hit me right where I am at that very moment and pierce me…. How do you do it? :) Thank you, once again, and don’t be surprised if this ppem shows up on one my blogs sometime soon (with due credit to you, of course).

  5. 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.

    Yes! Thanks for sharing this beautiful writing and your pictures! I’ve been reading from a great, humorous take on marriage “Daze of our Wives” by Dave Meurer a bit on the human race wanting to save itself, and thereby the world in which it (we) resides. I also regularly read “Hathor The Cow-Goddess.” Heather creates fun and poignant comics and often addresses the need for kids to just “play in the dirt,” to get to know Mother Earth.

    May you be blessed in this Eastertide days, Christine! –K

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