Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sunday Sabbath Poetry: Wendell Berry

If I am evangelistic about anything, it is Wendell Berry, and that fact does not bode well for my ability to revisit his poetry, because my copies of his books are constantly lent out to friends who have yet to meet the master. I might have to get second copies from the library just to ensure always having a backup in case my own are out. Either way, in truth I am only happy whenever I am called upon to facilitate an introduction.

But like I said, sometimes it means I'm out a copy of a book here or there. Recently a friend returned my favorite collection (and the inspiration for this ongoing poetry series!), A Timbered Choir: Sabbath Poems, and I spent the next hour or so reading through most of the book backwards, finding myself once again caught up into the earth-stained, eyes-upturned, machine-eschewing, profoundly human words that so mark the life and work and witness of Wendell Berry. I can't go more than a few months without allowing such words to intrude upon this blog, so, once again, enjoy.

(My own afterward was already planned for today, having written it recently, and together with Berry's they thematically cohere quite nicely.)

[Update: I have taken down poems I am in the process of submitting for publication. I apologize for the confusion and/or inconvenience!]

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The Blue Robe

By Wendell Berry

How joyful to be together, alone
as when we first were joined
in our little house by the river
long ago, except that now we know

each other, as we did not then;
and now instead of two stories fumbling
to meet, we belong to one story
that the two, joining, made. And now

we touch each other with the tenderness
of mortals, who know themselves:
how joyful to feel the heart quake

at the sight of a grandmother,
old friend in the morning light,
beautiful in her blue robe!

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