Testimony by Rebecca Baggett: a poem of hope for the planet

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.