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In A Motel Parking Lot, Thinking Of Dr. Williams Analysis



Author: poem of Wendell Berry Type: poem Views: 7

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I.



The poem is important, but

not more than the people

whose survival it serves,



one of the necessities, so they may

speak what is true, and have

the patience for beauty: the weighted



grainfield, the shady street,

the well-laid stone and the changing tree

whose branches spread above.



For want of songs and stories

they have dug away the soil,

paved over what is left,



set up their perfunctory walls

in tribute to no god,

for the love of no man or woman,



so that the good that was here

cannot be called back

except by long waiting, by great



sorrows remembered and to come

by invoking the thunderstones

of the world, and the vivid air.



II.



The poem is important,

as the want of it

proves. It is the stewardship



of its own possibility,

the past remembering itself

in the presence of



the present, the power learned

and handed down to see

what is present



and what is not: the pavement

laid down and walked over

regardlessly--by exiles, here



only because they are passing.

Oh, remember the oaks that were

here, the leaves, purple and brown,



falling, the nuthatches walking

headfirst down the trunks,

crying "onc! onc!" in the brightness



as they are doing now

in the cemetery across the street

where the past and the dead



keep each other. To remember,

to hear and remember, is to stop

and walk on again



to a livelier, surer measure.

It is dangerous

to remember the past only



for its own sake, dangerous

to deliver a message

you did not get.





Submitted by David Shackelford






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