A Sunday Poem – Wendell Berry Again

Last Sunday I shared a poem from Wendell Berry’s poetry collection, This Day: Collected and New Sabbath Poems and I’m back today with another one.

From 1979, poem XII:

To long for what eternity fulfills
Is to forsake the light one has, or wills
To have, and go into the dark, to wait
What light may come – no light perhaps, the dark
Insinuates. And yet the dark conceals
All possibilities: thought, word, and light,
Air water, earth, motion, and song, the arc
Of lives through light, eyesight, hope, rest, and work –

And death, the narrow gate each one must pass
Alone, as some have gone past every guess
Into the wounds by a path lost to all
Who look back, gone past light and sound of day
Into grief’s wordless catalogue of loss.
As the known life is given up, birdcall
Become the only language of the way,
The leaves all shine with sudden light, and stay.

On Friday I discussed my need to pare down and still my heart. You might know that one of the things that I struggle with is religion and faith. I’ve tried reading The Bible each morning and most days I walk away feeling frustrated and angry by what I’ve read, which isn’t serving me. So I’ve decided to use that time to read poetry. Wendell Berry, who is deeply religious, finds solace in nature more often than in a church pew. It feels like this is the right place to start.

(My banner picture is a local walking trail that runs behind my house and along the river. I took this picture on a cool Fall morning – which is what I’m dreaming of lately!)


6 thoughts on “A Sunday Poem – Wendell Berry Again

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  1. Lovely poem. Here’s a very brief one by Mr. Berry that I love (and have probably already shared with you, so apologies for repetition):

    To Know the Dark

    To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
    To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
    and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
    and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have that book on my shelf – it’s beautiful, isn’t it? I came to it via Barbara Brown Taylor’s An Altar in the World (I’d highly recommend that book, too – not poetry, but beautiful writing about faith in a way that isn’t preachy) … and I mention that because the poem that Jordy shared reminds me of Taylor’s Learning to Walk in the Dark.

    Liked by 1 person

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