Friday, September 11, 2020

Poetry Friday -- How to Be a Poet


image via Unsplash

How to Be a Poet

by Wendell Berry

(to remind myself)


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 poems,   
doubt their judgment.  

    You can read the other two sections of this wise poem at the Poetry Foundation.  I'm sharing it today as a reminder to myself. Maybe you needed to hear that, too?

    Kiesha has this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Whispers From the Ridge.


  1. I love Wendell Berry's poems and his whole outlook about how poems are meant to exist in this world as sacred spaces. LOVE. Thank you! xo

  2. An excellent an timely reminder - reaching for more "affection, reading, knowledge, skill" - more than what we have - it is how we grow as poets and writers, and how we remember that we are still works in progress, as are our fellow humans. The chuckle at the end of the selection is just right ... remaining humble frame's life and work as much as those essential quiet moments.

    Fran Haley

  3. One of my favorite Berry poems. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  4. I have recently copied this poem into my notebook again. There is something incredibly validating and soothing in these words. Wishing you some still time over the weekend.

  5. Good find! Those things - patience, listening, inspiration, all of it - apply to so many things in life, not only for creatives, but just life - finding, acknowledging, appreciating joy, and time, and all of it!

  6. I have found lately that throwing myself into writing is a kind of meditation. Thanks for this reminder.

  7. What a wonderful and profound poem! I love this line: "Stay away from anything
    that obscures the place it is in." There's so much to linger with in this poem. Thank you!

  8. Truth. A perfect poem for today. Indeed so much great advice.
    Janet Clare F.

  9. Perhaps in another time similar to our today, Wendell Berry wrote this to remind how it is? I am of course imagining that some, like him, know how we are to be & thank goodness for their prescience. And thank you for sharing, Mary Lee

  10. YES - I needed the reminder. Thank you!!

  11. This is a worthy reminder Mary Lee. Your timing is spot on.

  12. Yes, I did need to read this today. Love Wendell Berry's poems.

  13. This is a goood reminder for me today. Thanks for sharing it.

  14. Wendell Berry's ending lines are ones to remember, "make a poem that does not disturb
    the silence from which it came." They let you breathe a little bit easier. Thanks Mary Lee!

  15. I definitely need to hear this right now! I can't get past the first two lines! Thank you, my friend!

  16. Yes, yes, yes! Thank you for this reminder. I have been so busy with school and have not made time to sit down, be quiet, and let myself be a poet again. I needed to hear this today!

  17. Yes, I needed to reread this wise, comforting poem. It is a bit of a challenge to "stay away from screens" though.

  18. Ack! Dang. Ouch! Okay.

  19. "More of each than you have" -- sigh. That feels very true, but somehow we make the poem anyway. That's the magic of it.

  20. Oh, I love this... "More of each than you have." Yep.


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