07 July 2015

Wendell Berry Wisdom Poetry

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.
"The Real Work" by Wendell Berry, from Standing by Words. © 1983

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 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.

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.

"How to be a Poet" by Wendell Berry from Given.
© Shoemaker Hoard, 2005.

02 July 2015

Suffering, and response

Just thinking about suffering and people's response.

Sometimes people respond to another's suffering out of their own experience or emotions. I've seen people respond unhelpfully to poverty because they felt guilty. Their response has been short sighted and caused problems they couldn't imagine.

Imagination is often a helpful thing to accompany wisdom.

People's response to those who are dying is often complicated too. They are living out of their healthy norm, facing a probable loss in their circle of affection and they want to DO something.

In reading A Faithful Farewell by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre, written in the first person, I've paused to ponder, "I need protection from the weight of other people’s grief. Some of them don’t realize how crushed I feel by their anguish....

Still, it’s hard to go. And it’s hard to have to announce my going. I need to “gird my loins” for encounters with people who will be devastated. As I face each one, I need to pray for the patience, clarity, and kindness they will require. I know that a few of them will object and want me to get more opinions and seek more treatment options. I know that some of them will dissolve into their own grief,....

... my job is to allow myself to be kept in perfect peace, my mind stayed on Christ, and to meet each person’s sorrow with generous imagination for what my dying may mean to them. As I prepare for this final transition, they have to prepare for loss. Both are hard. Even for me, it’s not altogether easy to judge which of us are the “lucky” ones. I realize that the measure of life’s value doesn’t lie in its duration;..."

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