Thursday, November 10, 2016

Poetry Friday -- The Impeded Stream

























The Real Work
by Wendell Berry

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.



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Poetry writers and readers, let's gather at Jama's Alphabet Soup to share the words that will begin to heal our hearts, and then let's roll up our sleeves and get to work. I'm thinking about volunteering to support senior citizens through my community's resource center, getting involved in Stonewall Columbus' PFLAG group (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), and donating to the NAACP. 

What causes will you champion with your discretionary income and your volunteer hours? 


41 comments:

  1. How about this -- will you write these letters to encourage electors in the Electoral College to do the right/moral thing?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/douglas-anthony-cooper/the-electoral-college-was_b_12897066.html

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  2. I signed a petition this evening to urge the electoral college to vote contrary to how they are supposed to vote. A crazy idea that would almost certainly result in utter chaos. However, chaos is preferable to the prospect of irreparable damage to our country. Your article probably advocates something along the same line. I will save reading it until the morning when I've slept away some of my post election lethargy.

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    1. And, I love Wendell Berry.

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    2. You've already raised your voice, Diane. Can't wait to hear more!

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  3. I'm actually going to see if there's some movement I can join that works to eliminate the Electoral College. What an outdated institution, and it's saddled us with two presidents (Bush and Trump) and robbed us of two presidents - Al Gore and Hillary Clinton, both of whom won the popular vote. "The American people have spoken" - but not really, right? So I'll see if I can find something like that.
    And I do love the idea of working on adult literacy...especially with Hispanics who want to learn to read in addition to learning to speak English. Meanwhile I'm going to drench myself with Wendell Berry poetry! So graceful, so right. Thanks for your post, Mary Lee.

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    1. We are on the same page.

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  4. wow. what a powerful poem. thanks for sharing.

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  5. Julie: http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/
    National Popular Vote

    Wendell Berry expressed that sentiment so beautifully.

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    1. Thanks for the link. That's a place to start.

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  6. The Wendell Berry poem is wonderful and so timely. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. Wonderful choice of poem for these troubling times.

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  8. Thanks for the Wendell Berry and the call to action. I, too, signed a petition regarding the Electoral College.

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  9. Oh to be a singing stream... my heart right now is in Syria -- and with the refugees from all countries. And also the cats left behind! Here is a link to the Cat Man of Aleppo, which needs our support. http://syriadirect.org/news/a-crowd-sourced-animal-sanctuary-in-east-aleppo-teaches-compassion-%E2%80%98to-love-the-small-weak-cats-is-to-love-everything%E2%80%99/

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    1. Thanks for lifting our eyes to a greater tragedy. We are cat lovers. We will help them, and all refugees.

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  10. I'm joining the ACLU and hoping I can find a way there to help. Thanks for your challenge Mary Lee. Wendell Barry speaks loud to me every time.

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  11. Thanks for the call to work harder, Mary Lee. Wendell Berry says it best. I'm still struggling to get past the sad, but I know the determination will follow.

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  12. We are all digging in now, hoping that educators bond to keep students first and the vitriolic comments at bay. Thanks for the rally cry.

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  13. We have to make the world a better place.

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  14. I am also joining the ACLU. I've joined the 1460 group and this morning I had coffee at the cafe of immigrants. I will always support the hard work and dreams of people that wish to make America their home. I am wearing a safety pin....and probably will for at least four years. The mind that is not baffled is not employed." INDEED! Color me visible and vocal. xoxoxo

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    1. Visible and vocal. Two good plans for a better future.

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  15. YES. I'm not American, I'm watching in horror from the sidelines, but I've decided to try and use my blog in whatever way I can to share love and support inclusiveness. As a first-generation Canadian and child of immigrants myself, I am so thankful that I live in a country that has welcomed me with open arms. I will do whatever I can to ensure that everyone feels as loved and safe as I have.

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    1. Thank you for your support from afar. We joke about moving to Canada to escape this hell, but I'm afraid it won't be a national problem, it will be a world problem. Thank you for your support!

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  16. I think this election is a wake up call for activism and participation in the process. That's the silver lining.

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  17. Thank you for this poem and the link to the electors of the Electoral College. I plan to join the NAACP and wear a safety pin at all times in public - I AM a safe haven for anyone who feels threatened. Yesterday my 19 y/o was harassed and told to she should be deported because of the color of her skin (the Trump supporter didn't even know what ethnicity she was!). That person was lucky I wasn't with my daughter...

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    1. I'm still angry about what happened to your daughter. I imagine you are fuming. I'm taking all of my years of Race for the Cure safety pins to a workshop this morning. I'm not just going to wear one, I'm going to always have enough on hand to share!

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  18. I just saw the safety pin thing. That's easy. I would like to find a way to empower girls. I'm looking into a community project that does this. Thanks for pushing us to better, to do better, to show our feathers.

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    1. Does your community have a ROX program? I'm thinking I need to donate more to ours...
      http://www.rulingourexperiences.com/

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  19. Wendell Berry always gets it.

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    1. I've had this poem sitting on my desk at school to encourage me through a hard year with a difficult class. It means so much more now.

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  20. These comments are empowering and uplifting. I signed the petition to the electors to vote for Hillary instead of Trump, and it's over well over 3,000,000 now.

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    1. That's a start. It feels good, but now we must DO good.

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  21. "real work and real journey" have kept me pondering today. I like your thoughts about taking action that matters for you to directly see the results.

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    1. We all have to DO something. An accumulation of small positive acts will overpower the large evils.

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  22. Amen. This is why we are here. Thank you, Mary Lee.

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  23. I've been thinking of Wendell Berry this week, too. This poem says it all, doesn't it? Thanks for the link to the electoral college article. As you say, it's a place to start...

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  24. What a wonderful Berry poem. This line speaks powerfully to me: "The impeded stream is the one that sings."

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  25. Perfect poem for this week, Mary Lee. As soon as I get back from NCTE, I am going to volunteer for a local non-profit that supports refugees in the Baltimore area.

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