Monday, December 2, 2013

Li-Young Lee: "Praise Them"

The birds don’t alter space.
They reveal it. The sky
never fills with any
leftover flying. They leave
nothing to trace. It is our own
astonishment collects
in chill air. Be glad.
They equal their due
moment never begging,
and enter ours
without parting day. See
how three birds in a winter tree
make the tree barer.
Two fly away, and new rooms
open in December.
Give up what you guessed
about a whirring heart, the little
beaks and claws, their constant hunger.
We’re the nervous ones.
If even one of our violent number
could be gentle
long enough that one of them
found it safe inside
our finally untroubled and untroubling gaze,
who wouldn’t hear
what singing completes us?

"Praise Them" by Li-Young Lee, from Book of My Nights: Poems. © BOA Editions, Ltd., 2001.

Image credit: Untitled watercolor by ThimbleSparrow (originally color).



  1. This is such a beautiful project and done with a spirit of generosity. It speaks to all of us who are looking for quiet spaces within poetry. Thank you!

    1. You're very welcome. I'm glad you're finding quiet spaces within poetry. It's "good medicine." Deep peace to you.


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