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Sabbaths 2001 Analysis



Author: poem of Wendell Berry Type: poem Views: 10

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I



He wakes in darkness. All around

are sounds of stones shifting, locks

unlocking. As if some one had lifted

away a great weight, light

falls on him. He has been asleep or simply

gone. He has known a long suffering

of himself, himself sharpen by the pain

of his wound of separation he now

no longer minds, for the pain is only himself

now, grown small, become a little growing

longing joy. Something teaches him

to rise, to stand and move out through

the opening the light has made.

He stands on the green hilltop amid

the cedars, the skewed stones, the earth all

opened doors. Half blind with light, he

traces with a forefinger the moss-grown

furrows of his name, hearing among the others

one woman's cry. She is crying and laughing,

her voice a stream of silver he seems to see:

"Oh William, honey, is it you? Oh!"



II

Surely it will be for this: the redbud

pink, the wild plum white, yellow

trout lilies in the morning light,

the trees, the pastures turning green.

On the river, quiet at daybreak,

the reflections of the trees, as in

another world, lie across

from shore to shore. Yes, here

is where they will come, the dead,

when they rise from the grave.



III

White

dogwood flowers

afloat

in leafing woods

untrouble

my mind.



IV

Ask the world to reveal its quietude—

not the silence of machines when they are still,

but the true quiet by which birdsongs,

trees, bellows, snails, clouds, storms

become what they are, and are nothing else.



V

A mind that has confronted ruin for years

Is half or more a ruined mind. Nightmares

Inhabit it, and daily evidence

Of the clean country smeared for want of sense,

Of freedom slack and dull among the free,

Of faith subsumed in idiot luxury,

And beauty beggared in the marketplace

And clear-eyed wisdom bleary with dispraise.



VI

Sit and be still

until in the time

of no rain you hear

beneath the dry wind's

commotion in the trees

the sound of flowing

water among the rocks,

a stream unheard before,

and you are where

breathing is prayer.



VII

The wind of the fall is here.

It is everywhere. It moves

every leaf of every

tree. It is the only motion

of the river. Green leaves

grow weary of their color.

Now evening too is in the air.

The bright hawks of the day

subside. The owls waken.

Small creatures die because

larger creatures are hungry.

How superior to this

human confusion of greed

and creed, blood and fire.



VIII

The question before me, now that I

am old, is not how to be dead,

which I know from enough practice,

but how to be alive, as these worn

hills still tell, and some paintings

of Paul Cezanne, and this mere

singing wren, who thinks he's alive

forever, this instant, and may be.





Anonymous submission.






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