Praise the Rain

Praise the rain, the seagull dive

The curl of plant, the raven talk­—

Praise the hurt, the house slack

The stand of trees, the dignity­—

Praise the dark, the moon cradle

The sky fall, the bear sleep­—

Praise the mist, the warrior name

The earth eclipse, the fired leap—­

Praise the backwards, upward sky

The baby cry, the spirit food-—

Praise canoe, the fish rush

The hole for frog, the upside-down­—

Praise the day, the cloud cup

The mind flat, forget it all—

 

Praise crazy. Praise sad.

Praise the path on which we're led.

Praise the roads on earth and water.

Praise the eater and the eaten.

Praise beginnings; praise the end.

Praise the song and praise the singer.

 

Praise the rain; it brings more rain.

Praise the rain; it brings more rain.

Joy Harjo, “Praise the Rain” from Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings Copyright © 2015 by Joy Harjo. Reprinted by permission of publisher.

Source: Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings (W.W. Norton & Company)

Dive in: 
  1. How does the poet use repetition and rhythm to mimic the sound of rain?
  2. Harjo uses a lot of monosyllabic words in this poem. How does this affect the way the poem feels?
  3. Circle the nouns that she uses in the poem — what do they tell you about where she is? What kind of imagery dominates?
  4. What state of mind is the speaker in?
  5. If you were going to recite this poem, how would you choose to handle the musical pattern of the lines? Where would you pause? Would you vary your rhythm or keep a steady beat?
  6. Write a praise poem. Focus on natural imagery, even if you live in the city. What birds to you see every day? What do the trees look like? Are there other wild animals that live alongside you? (In Toronto, we have raccoons families marching across garage roofs at night and coyote and even “coywolves” hunting in the ravine.) Include the details of your own landscape and include a few intense emotional states — especially contradictory ones — as well.

 Useful Links

 Watch Joy Harjo read from her book Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: http://www.griffinpoetryprize.com/awards-and-poets/shortlists/2016-short...