Praise the rain and the sodden bamboo,

privet, wisteria, that thrust and snake

to the sky outside my window. Praise

the dense mat of yellow and brown leaves

already fallen during the weeks

of near-drought in Mississippi,

and now the first touch of autumn air.

The crickets in the leaves, the ant

on your bare foot, curious little scrabbler.

And the times when the spirit lags.

When illness makes you lurch like a drunken sailor,

your knuckles swell, and you cannot close a fist.

But the voice instructs and steadies you,

learned over many years—breathe, just breathe,

like the rain that falls, soft and unremitting. Praise this, too.