Friday, September 26, 2014

Poetry Friday



How To Be a Poet
(to remind myself)
by Wendell Berry

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your work,
doubt their judgment.

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
There are only sacred places
And desecrated places.




My One Little Word for this year is BREATHE. It's been a perfect word to remind myself to slow down, to notice all the good in people and in the world around me, to make space in my busy days and weeks just for me.

On a somewhat related note, if you haven't seen FALL LEAVES by Loretta Holland, get your hands on it asap. It is a poetry/nonfiction hybrid with gorgeous-GORGEOUS illustrations. (my review here)

And head over to Laura's place, Writing the World for Kids, for a peek at one of her new books and the Poetry Friday Roundup!


20 comments:

  1. This is gorgeous. I need to hang it up somewhere and rea it 18 times a day. I especially love those last three lines.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Berry's lines are exactly what I needed to read this morning. How I wish I could "shun electric wire" and "make a place to sit down [and] be quiet." Thanks for sharing this lovely poem, Mary Lee!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Probably one of my favorite Wendell Berry poems. Love "Any readers who like your work, doubt their judgment." :)

    Thanks for the heads up on Fall Leaves. Looks gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Happy Friday!
    Breathing is so very important.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "There are no unsacred places..." So right. Something we seem to forget frequently. Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love this, especially the last three lines. It's true, there ARE no unsacred places. (And there's no such thing as a Godforsaken town, either!)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Those last three lines...what can I say? How to breathe in the midst of that thought?

    ReplyDelete
  8. "Live
    a three-dimensioned life;"
    Sigh...Thank you for this pause of poetry and thought today.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh, I walked by a Wendell Berry collection the other day, felt the tug, but passed, knowing I have a pile to read. Maybe that was a mistake. But what a joy to read this. And thank you for the Fall Leaves recommendation!

    ReplyDelete
  10. There are no unsacred places;
    There are only sacred places
    And desecrated places.

    I'm studying the book of Ephesians in the New Testament where Paul prays that the Ephesians may be "filled with all the fullness of God" and that they would know "the fullness of him who fills all in all." The idea that all places are sacred places, that we cannot take the holiness out of them but only fail to recognize God in all His fullness in any place would resonate with Paul, I think.

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a perfect poem for BREATHE! I love Wendell Berry's writing. I need to listen to this more: "Shun electric wire.
    Communicate slowly. Live
    a three-dimensioned life;
    stay away from screens."
    Time to get off the computer! Ha. I saw your post about Fall Leaves. I will definitely look for it!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm copying this poem to put above my desk (although maybe I don't need to linger on,
    "Any readers
    who like your work,
    doubt their judgment."
    That doubt comes a little too easily....

    ReplyDelete
  13. Breathe, indeed, Mary Lee. This poem is just what I needed to read today, thank you. Especially the line:
    "Communicate slowly" =)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh, I hadn't read this in a while - perfectly timed for me to stumble over this weekend. Thanks, Mary Lee!
    And I loved your review of FALL LEAVES- it looks/sounds incredible and I must track down...!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wendell Berry breaks it down well! I feel so blessed to be writing more poetry lately. I'd like to make it more of a daily devotion rather than letting it come in on and off spurts, but it's hard to establish that habit.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love 'stay away from screens', & the rest too. New poem to me, & as I'm off to Highlights this week, it's one I will take with for a reminder, Mary Lee. Slowing down is not always a consideration is it? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I think I'll print this and put it by my desk. It's a great reminder. The lines about readers feel a little out of place to me.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Like others have mentioned, the ending and "Live a three-dimensional life" resonate with me. It all comes back to being present, doesn't it.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is a great reminder. I've written a few poems but I'm still not ready to show them up... I think I need a bit more of practice. Thank you so much for this reminder.

    http://salhaabuhayar.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  20. Lovely poem, Mary Lee. It makes me want to walk away from the computer and take a writing pad into the back yard! Some days, I just have to escape the screen... = )

    ReplyDelete

We welcome your contribution to the conversation!