Minnesota, Musing, poetry, Thoughts

Genius poetry: Wendell Berry’s “Manifesto”

Fall is here and I have been craving poetry.

My roommate Sarah says there is a word for the feeling you get–that swell of emotions you experience–when you are listening to a particular song. There should be an equivalent word for reading poetry, I think. I am not sure how I would describe it–awe? joy? wonder? But it’s when you arrive at the core of a poem, the centerboard on which the rest of the words rest, and it strikes you in the heart, so hard it’s almost unbearable. For a moment I always think I might cry; it’s just so, so lovely.

Morgan, the poem below does that for me. I hope it does for you too.

“Manifesto: The Mad  Farmer Liberation Front”

Ask the questions that have no answers.

Invest in the millennium. Plant Sequoias.

Say that your main crop is the forest

that you did not plant,

that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested

when they have rotted into the mold.

Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus

that will build under the trees

every thousand years.


Listen to carrion–put your ear

close, and hear the faint chattering

of the songs that are to come.

Expect the end of the world. Laugh.

Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful

though you have considered all the facts.

So long as women do not go cheap

for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy

a woman satisfied to bear a child?

Will this disturb the sleep

of a woman near to giving birth?


Go with your love to the field.

Lie down in the shade. Rest your head

in her lap. Swear allegiance

to what is highest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos

can predict the motions of your mind,

lose it. Leave it as a sign

to mark the false trail, the way

you didn’t go. Be like the fox

who makes more tracks than necessary,

some in the wrong direction.

Practice Resurrection.


–Wendell Berry

Source: http://www.herbcraft.org/berry.html


Love, Drew

P.S. I will send you the dispatch photos soon! I PROMISE!