Posts Tagged ‘praise’

Dark Praise

In each of us thrives an inner world
that does not love the light.
An inner world of womb and breath,
the most essential dark
where blood moves and lungs expand,
where neurons fire and cells divide,
where the heart pulses and muscles build,
where all words form, where all thoughts nest,
the secret world of humanness—
the dark we are, the dark we need,
this secret dark we cannot see.
For all its wounds, its rest,
its miraculous repair,
I praise this living dark
we carry everywhere.

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Three Unlikelihoods

crushed by rusted weight
stalled by my own brokenness—
still this urge to praise


despite cosmic odds
that tend toward vacuum and void,
this pale flower, these buds


even in cold darkness
hear the growing rush of snowmelt—
somewhere it is warm

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On a morning

when the snow

falls and drapes

everything in shine,

it is not that I don’t

feel the wounds—

raw and throbbing—

it’s just that it’s

so beautiful,

this tender world,

that I want

to praise it


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Their hats are cockamamie.

One has lost its carrot nose.

Stone buttons and eyes

have long since succumbed

to gravity. But there is

something yet dignified

about the snow people in the yard,

their knobby stick arms raised

as if, in their declining state,

there’s still so much to praise.

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Today when the wind

wrests branches from trees,

cartwheels the watering can

snatches my peace,

I search in me

for a way to praise it,

praise a force strong enough

to rip trees from the earth,

push a ship cross the sea,

and shred what I think I know.

There is in me

a vehement storm

that I have tamed

for fifty years.

Is it any wonder

the wind makes me nervous—

not that I don’t know

how to relate to it,

but oh, because

I do.

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The Real Story

Just as I threw my arms up in despair,

it was as if two angels

swooped in beneath them

and held them in place,

kept my arms raised high

so that anyone walking by

might have thought I was praising

the day, praising the air,

praising the clean blue sky,

kept my arms raised until I, too,

was fooled into thinking

I am here to honor

the immeasurable blue,

here to open, to feel the heart

beat wild inside the chest.

Long ago the angels left,

still I am here, hands raised.



ha! Friends, I just noticed that an anagram for despair is praised.

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Morning After

Again the chance to praise

the same room, the same floor,

the same view, the same tea,

the same image in the same mirror,

which today is startlingly not the same.

Again the chance to find the miracle

in the leaves that fall, the miracle

in the morning sun, the miracle

in the willows beside the pond.

Again, the chance to fall in love

with the same sky, the same field,

the same dirt, the same broken world.

Again, the chance to show up

with these same tired arms

and put them to work,

the same work as yesterday,

which is to learn to lift up,

to heal, to carry, to build,

to be in the world, to praise

the same room, the same floor,

the same view, the same tea.

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Stubborn Praise


Praise the futility of song.

Ruth Schwartz, Versions of Ghalib: Ghazal 1,



And so today I praise

the mango that molders,

how sweet it is the moment just before

it is gone. I praise the shovel

for its valiant attempt

to make a clearing

even as snow continues

to fall. Praise the fire,

though it always goes out

when left untended.

Praise how easily I forget the lessons

I learned yesterday,

how this allows me to learn them again.

Praise the body that rises

and runs, though it knows

it will tire and ache. Praise

the innocent clock

which only does what it

was made to do. And praise

this longing to praise—

how it has never built

a single house nor fed a mouth

nor loaded a train,

but oh, the joy,

the aliveness in praising.





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Easy today to praise the snow

a sparkling settled on all the world,

and easy to praise the oranges

that arrived bringing sunshine

from far away.

Easy to praise the sky as it clears

and easy to praise the wind

as it blows the storm away.


Less easy to praise the moment

between night and dawn

when I would rather be sleeping

than praising.


Less easy to praise the song

that insists on replaying

inside my head.


Less easy still to praise

the sorrow, though

its roots are in great love.


But bless the poem

for offering the chance

to discover praise.

And bless the praise,

for showing up despite

sorrow, despite fear.


Praise the longing

to praise, may it ever

insist on itself, like

grasses that poke

through the snow in the field,

like the sunshine

inside the clementine,

like a poem past midnight

that refuses to let me sleep.

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Try to praise the mutilated world

            —Adam Zagajewski



The cratered earth

and the blood stained shirts

and the men with guns

and the hate sharp words

and the sour rooms

that never see sun

and the rashes, the cancers

the blackened lungs


and still, there are paths

in Ohio woods

where upended trees

show elaborate roots

and the water seeps

in the ancient gorge,

and dead leaves fuel

whole dominions of soil


and though beauty

can be hard to reconcile,

worse to ignore it,

worse to look away,

worse in this mutilated world

to pretend we don’t have

ten thousand times ten thousand

reasons to praise.


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