At all times

Oh, speak, poet, what do you do?

– I praise.

But the monstrosities and the murderous days,
how do you endure them, how do you take them?

– I praise.

But the anonymous, the nameless grays,
how, poet, do you still invoke them?

– I praise.

What right have you, in all displays,
in every mask, to be genuine?

– I praise.

And that the stillness and the turbulent sprays
know you like star and storm?

– because I praise.

December 1921

Rainer Maria Rilke
The Poet Speaks of Praising

Still, whatever the weather, or the degree of turbulence visited upon our lives by daily news – personal or corporate; still, no matter the headache, or the slight creaking we notice in our bones, or the cold, or the heat; still, at all times, there remain the invigorating vistas of the grand scale, of the micro-view, of the scents of baking, and of good post-walk coffee; still we may take confidence in the memory of the myriad perspectives we’ve encountered before, and will again; still, in every moment, awake or asleep, we may find cause to praise – and thereby know ourselves fully alive.

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