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Poetry Sunday: A List of Praises by Anne Porter
This is longer than the poems that I usually feature here, but then there is quite a lot to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving to all.
A List of Praises
by Anne Porter
Give praise with psalms that tell the trees to sing,
Give praise with Gospel choirs in storefront churches,
Mad with the joy of the Sabbath,
Give praise with the babble of infants, who wake with the sun,
Give praise with children chanting their skip-rope rhymes,
A poetry not in books, a vagrant mischievous poetry
living wild on the Streets through generations of children.
Give praise with the sound of the milk-train far away
With its mutter of wheels and long-drawn-out sweet whistle
As it speeds through the fields of sleep at three in the morning,
Give praise with the immense and peaceful sigh
Of the wind in the pinewoods,
At night give praise with starry silences.
Give praise with the skirling of seagulls
And the rattle and flap of sails
And gongs of buoys rocked by the sea-swell
Out in the shipping-lanes beyond the harbor.
Give praise with the humpback whales,
Huge in the ocean they sing to one another.
Give praise with the rasp and sizzle of crickets, katydids and cicadas,
Give praise with hum of bees,
Give praise with the little peepers who live near water.
When they fill the marsh with a shimmer of bell-like cries
We know that the winter is over.
Give praise with mockingbirds, day's nightingales.
Hour by hour they sing in the crepe myrtle
And glossy tulip trees
On quiet side streets in southern towns.
Give praise with the rippling speech
Of the eider-duck and her ducklings
As they paddle their way downstream
In the red-gold morning
On Restiguche, their cold river,
Give praise with the whitethroat sparrow.
Far, far from the cities,
Far even from the towns,
With piercing innocence
He sings in the spruce-tree tops,
Always four notes
And four notes only.
Give praise with water,
With storms of rain and thunder
And the small rains that sparkle as they dry,
And the faint floating ocean roar
That fills the seaside villages,
And the clear brooks that travel down the mountains
And with this poem, a leaf on the vast flood,
And with the angels in that other country.
How about we share another Mary Oliver poem? After all, you can never have too many of those. In this one, the poet seems to acknowledge that it is often hard to simply live in and enjoy the moment, perhaps because we are afraid it can't last. She urges us to give in to that moment and fully experience the joy. Although "much can never be redeemed, still, life has some possibility left." Don't Hesitate by Mary Oliver If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happens better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is no
I was introduced to the writing of C.J. Box through my local library's Mystery Book Club. Open Season , the first in Box's Joe Pickett series, was the club's selection for reading in June. Although I didn't get a chance to read it in time for the meeting, the discussion of it made me curious and I put it on my to-be-read list. I'm glad I finally got around to it this week. Box has created an enormously appealing character in Joe Pickett. A Wyoming game warden, Joe is a devoted family man with two young daughters and a pregnant wife when we first meet him. He and his family are able to barely scrape by financially on the meager salary of a state employee (Been there, done that!) , but Joe is a happy man, because he's living his dream. Being a game warden was what he always wanted to be. Not only Joe but his whole family are lovingly drawn by Box. We get to know them well and to like them and want them not just to endure but to triumph. Seven-year-old Sherid
You probably remember poet Amanda Gorman from her appearance at the inauguration of President Biden. She read her poem "The Hill We Climb" on that occasion. After the senseless slaughter in Uvalde this week, she was inspired to write another poem which was published in The New York Times. It seemed perfect for the occasion and so I stole it in order to feature it here, just in case you didn't get a chance to read it in the Times . Hymn for the Hurting by Amanda Gorman Everything hurts, Our hearts shadowed and strange, Minds made muddied and mute. We carry tragedy, terrifying and true. And yet none of it is new; We knew it as home, As horror, As heritage. Even our children Cannot be children, Cannot be. Everything hurts. It’s a hard time to be alive, And even harder to stay that way. We’re burdened to live out these days, While at the same time, blessed to outlive them. This alarm is how we know We must be altered — That we must differ or die, That we must triumph or try.