Wendell Berry

“And if we ask what are the cultural resources that can inform and sustain a proper creaturely and stewardly awareness of the lives in a farmer’s keeping, I believe that we will find them gathered under the heading of husbandry”.

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“We are going to have to gather up the fragments of knowledge and responsibilities that have been turned over to governments, corporations, and specialists, and put those fragments back together again in our own minds and in our families and household and neighborhoods.”

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“When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

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 “One of the most important resources that a garden makes available for use, is the gardener’s own body. A garden gives the body the dignity of working in its own support. It is a way of rejoining the human race.”

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 “And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home.”

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“The yellow-throated warbler, the highest remotest voice of this place, sings in the tops of the tallest sycamores, but one day he came twice to the railing of my porch where I sat at work above the river. He was too close to see with binoculars. Only the naked eye could take him in, a bird more beautiful than every picture of himself, more beautiful than himself killed and preserved by the most skilled taxidermist, more beautiful than any human mind, so small and inexact, could hope ever to remember. My mind became beautiful by the sight of him. he had the beauty only of himself alive in the only moment of his life. He had upon him like a light the whole beauty of the living world that never dies.” From  Given: Poems, 2005

* Personal Note: I have been a huge fan of the writings of Wendell Berry for more years than I can remember. But this excerpt, this masterpiece of descriptive stirrings and unrequited feelings, have left me at a loss for any string of words I could ever hope to muster. In my humble opinion, and for whatever it is worth, these otherwise simple words are an example of some of the finest writings on nature, or any subject, that I have ever experienced. I am changed, forever, for the simple act of attempting, however feebly, to absorb them, in part, or on the whole.  As a writer, I can only pray to write something, one day, only nearly as good.

You?

There is beauty in the backyard, for those who can, or are willing, to see…

Michael Patrick McCarty

Given: Poems (Hardcover)

For five decades Wendell Berry has been a poet of great clarity and purpose. He is an award-winning writer whose imagination is grounded by the pastures of his chosen place and the rooms and porches of his family’s home. In Given, the work is as rich and varied as ever before. With his unmistakable voice as the constant, he dexterously maneuvers through a variety of forms and themes―political cautions, love poems, a play in verse, and a long series of Sabbath Poems that resulted from Berry’s recent Sunday morning walks of meditation and observation.

Berry’s work is one of devotion to family and community, to the earth and her creatures, to the memories of the past, and the hope of the future. His writing stands alongside the work of William Carlos Williams and Robert Frost as a rigorous American testament.


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A Journal of Honest Food, Freedom, and The Natural World