Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Another Wendell Berry Sabbath poem as we wind down the year. Look at the pluses and minuses and wonder.

At the end of a long time
the book keeper sits down with his book.
He enters all that he has learned
of suffering, grief and ugliness,
of cruelty, waste and loss,
stupidity, meanness, falsehood,
selfishness, loneliness, and greed.
He reckons all of these as a weight
he has no way of weighing.
He enters then all he has learned
of joy, goodness, beauty, love,
of generosity, grace and laughter,
good sense, honesty, compassion,
mercy and forgiveness.
And these also weigh an unweighable
weight that registers only
on his heart, He cannot at last
complete and close his book.
He cannot say of evil and good
which outweighs the other,
though he feels his time's rage
for quantification, and he would
like to know. He can only suppose
the things of goodness, the most
momentary, are in themselves
so whole, so bright as to redeem
the darkness and so trouble the world
though we set it all afire.
"Maybe" the book keeper says. "Maybe."
For all he knows that in a time
gone mad for certainty, "maybe"
gives time to live and move and be.

From This Day by Wendell Berry 2012.

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