Thursday, January 08, 2009

"I would not have been a poet, except..."

Long time no write, but by a strange coincidence, Wendell Berry once again ignited my desire for sharing through blogwriting. Berry is a poet I didn't know until I received a poem by him from a friend. This poem flowed in my direction from the same source, and how grateful am I.
I have not read any essays or stories by him, but I imagine his poetic vein infuses his words with lyric qualitites whatever genre he writes in. That is just the way with artists of language.
I find it particularly moving and true the way he honours silence and the huge world of wordlessness by circling his way around these truths through words. How else can we communicate truths to each other if not through some kind of language that we share? That is one of the beauties as well as shortcomings of language and being a human.
But, as we know, communicare necesse est. And what gems do not exist because of our need of communication? It is a most important web which ties us together.


by Wendell Berry

I would not have been a poet
except that I have been in love
alive in this mortal world,
or an essayist except that I
have been bewildered and afraid,
or a storyteller had I not heard
stories passing to me through the air,
or a writer at all except
I have been wakeful at night
and words have come to me
out of their deep caves
needing to be remembered.
But on the days I am lucky
or blessed, I am silent.
I go into the one body
that two make in making marriage
that for all our trying, all
our deaf-and-dumb of speech,
has no tongue. Or I give myself
to gravity, light, and air
and am carried back
to solitary work in fields
and woods, where my hands
rest upon a world unnamed,
complete, unanswerable, and final
as our daily bread and meat.
The way of love leads all ways
to life beyond words, silent
and secret. To serve that triumph
I have done all the rest.

from A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979–1997