Sunday, October 02, 2011


Daughters and Friends
Daugthers -- photo by Lou Gold

This is a big weekend for kids in Brazil. There are great parties celebrating Cosme e Damião, martyred twins who by legend are thought to be especially kind to children and give favors in return for sweets. Especially in Rio de Janeiro, children throng to the streets in search of treats and toys on this weekend.

When I first came to Brazil, I was really impressed with the attention and license given to children. It was so different from the "children should be seen but not heard" approach I knew in the States. Once, I asked a friend why he thought Brazilian culture gives such extraordinary attention and celebration to children. His answer was simple, "They are our hope."

Especially in a crazy difficult world, it's a beautiful idea. I've often thought that paradise-on-earth could be formed of peace, big trees and happy children. I got a similar feeling when I read this beautiful poem written Rebecca Baggett for her daughters:

(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 ~

(Women's Uncommon Prayers)

Posted originally at Panhala

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