Praise Song by Barbara Crooker

Praise the light of late November,
the thin sunlight that goes deep in the bones.
Praise the crows chattering in the oak trees;
though they are clothed in night, they do not
despair. Praise what little there’s left:
the small boats of milkweed pods, husks, hulls,
shells, the architecture of trees. Praise the meadow
of dried weeds: yarrow, goldenrod, chicory,
the remains of summer. Praise the blue sky
that hasn’t cracked yet. Praise the sun slipping down
behind the beechnuts, praise the quilt of leaves
that covers the grass: Scarlet Oak, Sweet Gum,
Sugar Maple. Though darkness gathers, praise our crazy
fallen world; it’s all we have, and it’s never enough.
I am drawn to praise poems and this one seems particularly appropriate at this time of year, albeit early in November, the sunlight thinning, the crows though they are clothed in night, they do not / despair, still harshly calling to us in the chill air.
The poet invites us to admire the simple remnants of summer – the small boats of milkweed pods, husks, hulls, / shells, the architecture of trees. To notice the dried weeds, the blue sky, the setting sun, the quilt of leaves / that covers the grass. Have you ever seen the fallen leaves as a quilt before? I hadn’t.
And finally to acclaim our crazy / fallen world, fallen as we have in these times, crazy for sure as darkness of all kinds gathers around us.
Yet it’s all we have, this broken, fallen world and it’s never enough though I hear those words not as despair but as a reminder to praise what we do have; there can never be too much praise, too much admiration for this world.
When we pause to admire the simple beauty of this dying season, we can find reason to praise what is there, to express our respect and gratitude for all of it.

 

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