Be There, by Jennifer Angelina Petro

Be There

By

Jennifer Angelina Petro

 

 

 

You may have seen

Those videos where

The camera focuses in

On one person and then

Pans out past the tree tops,

The buildings, the clouds,

And further backwards

Through space, until

The swirling earth

Grows smaller, and smaller,

And smaller,

As the satellite camera

Continues to draw back

Revealing solar systems,

Galaxies, and then more—

The ever-growing universe.

 

 

This amazement of technology

Is meant to show us

Our seeming insignificance

In the grand scheme of things—

How little we are, how tiny our earth is,

How, while we find our rightful

Place among the galaxies,

We are still hugely small, invisible

In the clusters of stars.

 

 

I would argue however,

That you matter; that you,

Standing there on the little space

You take—matter.

 

 

And when winter comes,

And the ground grows cold,

And the trees weep their true

Colors into the streets and rivers,

That if you were to bend down,

And gently place your hand

On the hardening ground

And whisper witnessing words—

Reminding the earth of the life

Dreaming within—

The seeds and sleeping animals—

That it needn’t be afraid,

That it needn’t feel it has failed us,

That it is beautiful and to be honored

For the spring and summer

It so lavishly shared with us,

You would be making a world

Of difference.

 

 

The earth gives, and gives,

And gives, and it rejoices

In doing so, and yet, when winter comes,

And the frost pushes it all down,

You can stay by its bedside of trees

And fallow fields, you can

Sing it soft songs of comfort,

You can tread lightly

Over the steeling ground,

You can remind the earth

With your every breath,

Every act of kindness,

Every prayer,

That the earth will

Resurrect, that it will

Be born again, that it will

Waken from its frightening sleep,

And once again, and again,

And again, bloom, just as

The universe continues

To bloom, just as you

Continue to bloom,

Just as you realize more, and more,

And more, how important

You really are.  In the grand

Scheme—which is, of course,

Really, a great song–

Once again, it needs to be

Said over, and over, and over—

You matter, you have the powers

To comfort and heal,

You have the powers

To be comforted and healed–

Because nothing is alone,

Because everything matters,

Because we blossom

Through this universe

Full of the stuff of stars

And communities of compassion

And wonder.

 

So, as you stand, be the spring

And summer for the earth

As she freezes into her yearly

Death–be there, be there for her,

Be for her as the sun is

For you.

 

 

 


 

 

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Living Among Roots and Shadows

Living Among Roots and Shadows
By
Joseph Anthony Petro

 

roots and shadows

 

My soul is caught
Among roots and shadows, like
A piece of silk caught
In the branches of a tree
Or in a bush of thorns.
Still living
My soul,
Blown out
Of its trappings
By so much sorrow,
Remains
Tethered by a thread,
A thread of presence and of hope,
The end of which is wound
Around your outstretched hands,
It streams from the fragrance
Of your spring-blossomed words,
It is spun from the loom
Of your compassion.
And the reason I know this
Is because I stand among roots
And shadows, like
A piece of silk
Caught in the branches
Of a tree or in a bush
Of thorns, and I am still living,
And my soul, blown out
Of its trappings, remains tethered
By a thread of presence and of hope,
The end of which is wound
Around my own hands and streams
From my own spring-blossoming words,
It is spun from a loom of compassion
I built and work at by candlelight
In a moon-drenched room alone. And the reason
I know this is because I weep
Among roots and shadows,
I flail among roots and shadows,
I panic among roots and shadows,
I shake and I scream and I die
A thousand times among roots
And shadows, like a fledging bird
Caught in a storm and is still alive,
My blown out soul tossed
By winds of shame and terror, remains held
Somehow, someway beneath the wings
Of a great and terrible love
That will not let me blow away.
I know this because today I rest
Under the shadow of his wings
And among the roots of her beautiful, all-
Holding earth.