Monthly Archives: February 2022

“Bell-Notes of Joy”

Can You Hear It?

by Paula Gordon Lepp

There are days when, 
although I try to open myself 
to wonder, wonder just 
won’t be found. Or perhaps,
it is more accurate to say 
on those days I am simply 
blind to what the world 
has to offer 

until I look down, and there, 
beside the sidewalk,
are blades of grass completely 
enrobed in ice, shimmering
in the glow of the setting sun,
and as they sway and move 
into each other, if I listen, 
really listen,
even they are singing 
faint little bell-notes of joy. 

As soon as I came across this poem, I felt instantly that I could relate to what the poet says about waking some days “blind to what the world has to offer.” And I love the pause that comes in the second stanza when she finally looks down and sees those “blades of grass enrobed in ice” (“enrobed” is such a lush and holy word). This is how it works, though–we “try to open ourselves to wonder,” and though it may not come at first, if we do our best to stay open to the small, seemingly insignificant signs of beauty around us, we increase the chances of wonder showing up at some unexpected moment later on. Paying closer attention to the grass blades, the speaker realizes that “even they are singing” with joy at being transformed by the icy landscape and light of the setting sun into something more striking than they were on their own. Isn’t this the way we transform our own lives with the careful attention that Mary Oliver once observed was “the beginning of devotion”?

–James Crews

Invitation for Writing & Reflection: Describe what it feels like on those days when you wake up closed off to what the world has to offer. Now think back to a moment when the world suddenly proved you wrong, and showed you something — small or grand — that sparked awe at this planet we live on.