I’ve always been hesitant to read poetry. I don’t know enough about how poems are built to really understand the intricacies poets pour into their work, so I’ve always felt like I was missing most of what’s happening. But I’ve been working hard to read more poetry over the last couple of years and have been excited to see so many of my blogging friends writing about it lately. Given that it’s National Poetry Month, I’ve decided to revive my little A Sunday Poem tradition to honor the poems I’ve been thinking about lately.
You might remember that I had been working through Wendell Berry’s This Day: Collected & New Sabbath Poems — I still am! And this week I read a poem from this volume that made me smile:
Poem, do not raise your voice.
Be a whisper that says “There!”
where the stream speaks to itself
of the deep rock of the hill
it has carved its way down to
in flowing over them, “There!”
where the sun enters and the tanager
flares suddenly on the lighted branch,
“There!” where the aerial columbine
brightens on its slender stalk.
Walk, poem. Watch, and make no noise.
– Wendell Berry, This Day: Collected & New Sabbath Poems
Watch, and make no noise. That sentence sums up a lot for me right now. It’s been a big takeaway for me while reading The New Seeds of Contemplation and as I think about the direction I want to take this blog.
Sometimes I think poetry is like tarot cards – they can’t read the future or tell us about our past, but they can help us tap into the hidden places in our brains and pull out narratives that we’ve been writing for a long time without realizing.
I’m feeling frustrated right now. I’m reading and listening to so much and I feel like there’s something there that I can really dig into and write about, but then I lose it. I hear a sentence on a podcast and I think that’s it! and then it’s gone. I underline a sentence in a book and say, a ha! This is what’s happening! and then that sentence gets lost in a sea of more underlined sentences and I can’t find it anymore. I can’t even remember what it was about.
Watch, and make no noise.
This poem has reminded me that it’s nothing to rush. Everything I’m reading and learning – it’s all being distilled and will come out when the time is right. Wendell Berry is my hero and always manages to say exactly what I need to hear.
I hope to share A Sunday Poem each week this month. Perhaps I’ll even share something other than Wendell Berry (but I doubt it)! I’m planning to return from this week’s blogging break and share a little something from my 5 Year Journal tomorrow – I hope to spend some time with you then!