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School Prayer
Diane Ackerman


In the name of the daybreak
and the eyelids of morning
and the wayfaring moon
and the night when it departs,

I swear I will not dishonor
my soul with hatred,
but offer myself humbly
as a guardian of nature,
as a healer of misery,
as a messenger of wonder,
as an architect of peace.

In the name of the sun and its mirrors
and the day that embraces it
and the cloud veils drawn over it
and the uttermost night
and the male and the female
and the plants bursting with seed
and the crowning seasons
of the firefly and the apple,

I will honor all life
—wherever and in whatever form
it may dwell—on Earth my home,
and in the mansions of the stars.

From I Praise My Destroyer (Vintage Books, 2000)
Used with the author's permission.


Poet, essayist, and naturalist Diane Ackerman is the author of two dozen highly acclaimed works of nonfiction and poetry and was the host of a five-hour PBS television series inspired by her book, A Natural History of the Senses. Her book , The Zookeeper's Wife, was made into a feature film. Diane has taught at universities all over the country, was named a "Literary Lion" by the New York Public Library, and received the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication in 2022. Learn more about her at




Post New Comment:
Lovely and always timely.
Posted 08/19/2014 10:18 AM
Larry Schug:
Posted 08/19/2014 08:17 AM
A vow, A plea, A blessing. Thanks
Posted 08/19/2014 06:52 AM

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