Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Poem by Wendell Berry


by Wendell Berry

I would not have been a poet

except that I have been in love

alive in this mortal world,

or an essayist except that I

have been bewildered and afraid,

or a storyteller had I not heard

stories passing to me through the air,

or a writer at all except

I have been wakeful at night

and words have come to me

out of their deep caves

needing to be remembered.

But on the days I am lucky

or blessed, I am silent.

I go into the one body

that two make in making marriage

that for all our trying, all

our deaf-and-dumb of speech,

has no tongue. Or I give myself

to gravity, light, and air

and am carried back

to solitary work in fields

and woods, where my hands

rest upon a world unnamed,

complete, unanswerable, and final

as our daily bread and meat.

The way of love leads all ways

to life beyond words, silent

and secret. To serve that triumph

I have done all the rest.

"VII" from the poem "1994" by Wendell Berry, from A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979–1997. © Counterpoint, 1998. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

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