Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Importance of Place

My favorite poet (today at least) is Wendell Berry. He’s about as unusual a literary person as you can imagine. For decades he has lived on a farm in Kentucky that he works with draft horses and hand tools, repairing the damage to the land that resulted from generations of mistreatment. This is one of his poems:

Stay Home

I will wait here in the fields
to see how well the rain
brings on the grass.
In the labor of the fields
longer than a man’s life
I am at home. Don’t
come with me.
You stay home too.

I will be standing in the woods
where the old trees
move only with the wind
and then with gravity.
In the stillness of the trees
I am at home. Don’t come with me.
You stay home too.

I am always impressed with the peace and beauty he has found in a place where others wouldn’t see either. His sensibility seems so different from the America I know of the open road, of the movement west and of the workaholic, get up and go, multitasking life we lead.

I wonder sometimes if I will ever mature into feeling the satisfaction that his poems express with the world we are given.

No comments:

Post a Comment