Friday, August 01, 2014

Poetry Friday: Wendell Berry

My blog has been silent for a whole month now as I have been traveling, visiting friends and family in the US.  Yesterday I got home to Haiti and today I am savoring this last Friday of the summer, since I go back to work on Monday morning.

At the same time, I am sad for the end of the summer, and sad because this is my daughter's senior year, and will be full of "lasts", and sad because of the news of war and destruction and sickness around the world. 

Can I savor and be sad at the same time?  I think so.  This poem is from Wendell Berry's book This Day: Collected and New Sabbath Poems, which we acquired this summer.  It is in the 1999 section and labeled only with a Roman numeral. 


In Heaven the starry saints will wipe away
The tears forever from our eyes, but they
Must not erase the memory of our grief.
In bliss, even, there can be no relief
If we forget this place, shade-haunted, parched
Or flooded, dark or bright, where we have watched
The world always becoming what it is,
Splendor and woe surpassing happiness
Or sorrow, loss sweeping it as a floor.
This shadowed passage between door and door
Is half-lit by old words we've heard or read.
As the living recalls the dead, the dead
Are joyless until they call back their lives:
Fallen like leaves, the husbands and the wives
In history's ignorant, bloody to-and-fro,
Eternally in love, and in time learning so.

Here is today's Poetry Friday roundup.


Tabatha said...

Wendell Berry is the best. Thanks for this, Ruth. It is definitely one to savor.

Jessica Stock said...

I love this poem. Glad to know you are home. Thinking of you as you begin this year.

Bridget Magee said...

Savor and being sad - that's how I feel about my daughter's senior year also. Wendell Berry is a gem. = )

Anonymous said...

Beautiful poem.

Joyce Ray said...

Oh, Ruth. We are definitely experiencing "history's ignorant, bloody to-and-fro." But is the world really "becoming what it is?"

Wendell Berry says what we need to hear so well. Thank you.

Margaret Simon said...

I think we can be both sad and hopeful, savoring each day, but as a mother of 3 daughters, I will tell you that they don't leave you and the relationship only strengthens with time.

Karen Edmisten said...

I am seconding what Margaret said. :)

And I absolutely love this poem, always love Wendell Berry. I think this is the perfect pick to capture both the savoring and the sadness you spoke of.

Matsu said...

Thanks, Ruth. I really like Wendell Berry a lot.