Thursday, September 15, 2016


Written by Wendell Berry in 2003 from his collection This Day Collected and New Sabbath Poems page.

Berry paints wonderful word pictures in some of his work. Since he often uses blank verse I believe he uses the format to force the reader to pay attention to the punctuation. It really does make a difference.

This is a poet of the river lands,
a lowdown man of the deepest
depth of the valley, where gravity gathers
the waters, the poisons, the trash,
where light comes late and leaves early.

From the window of his small room
the lowdown poet looks out, He watches 
the river for ripples, flashes, signs
of beings rising in the under surface dark,
or lightly swimming upon the flow,
or, for a minnow, descending the deeps
of the air to enter and shatter
forever their momentary reflections,
for the river is a place passing
through a passing place.

The poet, his window, and his poems
are creatures of the shore that the river
gnaws, dissolves, and carries away.
He is  tree of a sort, rooted
in the dark, aspiring to the light,
dependent on both. His poems
are leavings, sheddings, gathered
from the light, as it has come,
and offered to the dark, which he believes
msut shine with sight,
with light, dark only to him. 

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