nature, poetry, quotes

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

–Wendell Berry


What a BEAST Wendell Berry is! His poetry is like hot tea on a wintry afternoon. I can only hope some day to have a wikipedia entry that begins as awesomely as his does:

“Wendell Berry (born August 5, 1934) is an American man of letters, academic, cultural and economic critic, and farmer. He is a prolific author of novels, shorts stories, poems and essays.” 

Man of letters? academic? critic? farmer and prolific author? Is there anything this man can’t do? 

Crusader for the family farm, defender of nature, skeptic of technology–in an article for the National Endowment for the Humanities, David Skinner called him “the sum of his beliefs.” Such a simple phrase and yet, how many of us actually are the sum of our beliefs? It is so much more difficult to practice than preach, and more often than not I’m just a head case of hypocrisy. But thank god that, while the rest of us are floundering/striving/questioning, there are folks like Wendell Berry sticking to their guns, guiding the way, and spreading goodness in the worlds, or as he puts it–

“In the dark of the moon, in the flying snow, in the dead of winter, war spreading, families dying, the world in danger, I walk the rocky hillside, sowing clover.” 

You can read more about Berry/his poetry here.



The Peace of Wild Things

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



Love, Drew

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