Thursday, February 5, 2015


If you're used to the poems we were assigned in English class with regular rhythm and predictable punctuation Berry can almost drive you crazy. Until you realize why he's doing what he does. It makes you slow down and listen. Really listen. And if you know storms, streams and wind tossed branches; "see" the words. He may be writing in Kentucky, but this is Oregon too. And if I don't have rue anemones, there are early, fragile pale purple crocuses;swelling bugs on the lilacs and dogwood; the shy green shoots of blue bells and forget me nots.

February first was Imbolc, Celtic spring. Or as John Becket over at Under the Oak put it, the promise of spring. It's there. It takes a little imagination, a remembering of springs past to see it. But, it's there.

"Here where the dark sourced stream brims up,
Reflecting daylight, making sound
In its stepped fall from cup to cup
Of tumbled rock, singing its round

From cloud to sea to cloud, I climb
the deer road through the leafless trees
Under a wind that batters limb
On limb, still roaring as it has

Two nights and days, cold in slow spring.
The ancient song in a wild throat
Recalls itself and starts to sing
In storm cleared light; and the bloodroot,

twin leaf and rue anemone
Among bare shadows rise, keep faith
With they have been and will be
Again: frail stem and leaf, mere breath

Of white and starry bloom, each form
Recalling itself to its place
And time. Give thanks for no windstorm
Or human wrong has altered this,

The forfeit Garden that recalls
Itself here, where both we and it
Belong; no act or thought rebels
in this brief Sabbath now, time fit

To be eternal. Such a bliss
Of bloom's no ornament, but root
and light, a saving loveliness,
Starred firmament here underfoot."

Wendell Berry 1982 Sabbath poems.

All three plants he mentions have small white flowers. Indeed they look so much alike you almost have to go with the shape of the leaves to tell them apart.

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