Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Wendell Berry Digs Deep

I've been thinking alot about Wendell Berry recently - he seems to be firmly lodged in the indeces of every important work of agricultural (and often cultural) scholarship. He's often the one who said it first, and near always the one who says it best.

It's been a long time, though, since I noticed or remembered that Wendell Berry has a whole 'nother way of talking about what he's talking about. So here are two of them:

The Seeds

The seeds begin abstract as their species,
remote as the name on the sack
they are carried home in: Fayette Seed Company
Corner of Vine and Rose. But the sower
going forth to sow sets foot
into time to come, the seeds falling
on his own place. He has prepared a way
for his life to come to him, if it will.
Like a tree, he has given roots
to the earth, and stands free.

The Wish to Be Generous

All that I serve will die, all my delights,
the flesh kindled from my flesh, garden and field,
the silent lilies standing in the woods,
the woods, the hill, the whole earth, all
will burn in man's evil, or dwindle
in its own age. Let the world bring on me
the sleep of darkness without stars, so I may know
my little light taken from me into the seed
of the beginning and the end, so I may bow
to mystery, and take my stand on the earth
like a tree in a field, passing without haste
or regret toward what will be, my life
a patient willing descent into the grass.

both from Farming: A Hand Book (1970)

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