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.
– Anne Porter, from ‘A List of Praises’
- Go for a walk outdoors and pay attention to everything around you. Then write a praise poem beginning with the words, “Give praise with….”
- Practice giving praise each day for a week. What do you notice? What surprises you? Explore your answers in your journal.
- Write a simple list of things you’d like to praise, everything from fresh air to soft sheets. Keep adding to your list throughout the year, until it fills the pages of a journal.