Perambulating the Bounds

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A Wendell Berry poem

Been browsing around in some Wendell Berry poems, from A Timbered Choir, poems which arise from his practice of dedicating his Sunday mornings to walking meditation. Found this short one that struck me. I won’t grind on, but the idea of locating the loss of the great forests and grasslands inside our own bodies is powerful to me.


It is in the destruction of the world
in our own lives that drives us
half insane, and more than half.
To destroy that which we were given
in trust: how will we bear it?
It is our own bodies that we give
to be broken, our bodies
existing before and after us
in clod and cloud, worm and tree,
that we, driving or driven, despise
in our greed to live, our haste
to die. To have lost, wantonly,
the ancient forest, the vast grasslands
is our madness, the presence
in our very bodies of our grief.

1988, II
A Timbered Choir, p. 98
(Counterpoint: NY, 1998)


It’s probably illegal to post this, but maybe these credits will satisfy. Oh yeah, here’s the Amazon page for the book. Maybe that will fulfill my obligation.

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