In honor of National Poetry Month in April, I’d like to invite you into the words of poet, novelist, and Kentucky farmer, Wendell Berry. Berry has farmed his family’s land for many years, developing a close relationship with the earth. He uses and champions natural methods.
One of my favorite Berry poetry collections is The Mad Farmer Poems. The first poem in that collection, “The Man Born to Farming,” opens with these lines that seem to describe Berry himself: “The grower of trees, the gardener, the man born to farming,/ whose hands reach into the ground and sprout,/ to him the soil is a divine drug…” The collection is full of love of the land and rage against those who abuse the land.
In this week’s poem of three parts, Berry “reminds himself how to be a poet.” Here is part iii of the poem and a link to the entire poem. Berry exhorts would-be poets to “Be quiet, ” to “Stay away from anything/ that obscures the place it is in,” and finally, in the closing section, to “Accept what comes from silence.”
excerpt from How to Be a Poet (to remind myself)
Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.
I took this week’s photo of a redbud tree with blossoms “like prayers/ prayed back to the one who prays,…” It is gracing in our neighbor’s yard this week.