Reflection From Visitor Marjorie Corbman

Jim Robinson brought his friend and fellow Fordham PhD candidate, Marjorie Corbman, to Agape in late July. The two of them delighted the community with kale salad and crispy tofu! Marjorie offered this poem to the community as a reflection on the half week she spent at Agape:  

Prayer Before a Driftwood Crucifix 

(in gratitude for a visit to Agape Community)

by Marjorie Corbman

In the morning light, thick as golden ribbons

from the window to my eyes, I notice:

my fingernails are still caked with dirt.

The soul in the body is like sap in the tree,

— said Saint Hildegard of Bingen —

the soul in the body: a sweetness that fills us,

our clotting lifeblood, the food of stillness

when we reach up towards sun.

I pray: teach me this gift, the slow work

of tending, a day’s wild watching,

the peace the world cannot give (but that

a bite of sourdough and herb butter might),

knowledge of our tangled roots, and

courage to expose them.

Teach me this,

how to be a tree in the orchard

of God (in which, of course, there are many

branches) and how to hunger for every

worm and weaving weed and dewdrop that

binds my body to all this life.

Oh, our earth — fruited and budding, sunbaked

and broken, gnarled, bent, crackling with thirst,

stretched on a rack of tortured uprooting,

our nation’s theft, our killing, our curse —

We know, the offering of a single day

before a driftwood crucifix is

not nearly enough.

Still, if you’ll take it,

if you’ll crack our caked dirt open,

there might still be life left

to nourish a scattered seed.