Wendell Berry: Sabbath Poem VI, 2001

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Paul Cézanne: Mont Sainte-Victoire (c. 1887)

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 Cézanne, and this mere
singing wren, who thinks he’s alive
forever, this instant, and may be.

          –Wendell Berry

 

 

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Wendell Berry: Sabbath Poem V, 1988

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Always in the distance
the sound of cars is passing
on the road, that simplest form 
going only two ways, 
both ways away. And I 
have been there in that going.

But now I rest and am
apart, a part of the form
of the woods always arriving
from all directions home,
this cell of wild sound,
the hush of the trees, singers
hidden among the leaves–

a form whose history is old,
needful, unknown, and bright
as the history of the starts
that tremble in the sky at night
like leaves of a great tree.

       –Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry: We Need Something New

230ea-wendellberrybyguymendesThe aim and result of war necessarily is not peace but victory, and any victory won by violence necessarily justifies the violence that won it and leads to further violence. If we are serious about innovation, must we not conclude that we need something new to replace our perpetual “war to end war”?

–Wendell Berry, from “Thoughts in the Presence of Fear”