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Essay

Change of plans…

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IMG_8015The plan was…

Oh, so many plans, was that today would be a guest post about, but not limited to, the refugee situation around the Mediterranean. But alas, with particular complications, the guest is unable to post.

So, in its place on this Day of the Ascension of the Lord I share excerpts from two poems by Wendell Berry. To see each poem in its entirety, you can proceed to the link on the OnBeing website. Doing so will not only allow you to view the whole poem, but also hear it spoken by Berry himself. I have heard Berry reading enough times that it is hard to read anything he has written and not to hear his voice, pleasantly so. (In similar ways it is difficult to read the word “lanyard” and not be transported to the words and voice of poet Billy Collins.)

Each poem ends with particularly poignant images that helps me enter and imagine God at work in the world today especially:

“Still the Presence that we come into with song is here, shaping the seasons of His wild will.”

“These passings resurrect a joy without defect, the life that steps and sings in ways of death.”

 

The first is from “SABBATHS – 1985, I.”

Though blindness may yet detonate in light,

ruining all, after all the years, great right

subsumed finally in paltry wrong,

what do we know? Still

the Presence that we come into with song

is here, shaping the seasons of His wild will.

 

The second excerpt is from “SABBATHS – 1979, IV.”

But a mute blessedness

Exceeding all distress,

The fresh light stained a hundred shades of green.

 

Uproar of wheel and fire

That has contained us like a cell

Opens and lets us hear

A stillness longer than all time

Where leaf and song fulfill

The passing light, pass with the light, return,

Renewed, as in rhyme.

This is no human vision

Subject to our revision;

God’s eye holds every leaf as light is worn.

 

Ruin is in place here:

The dead leaves rotting on the ground,

The live leaves in the air

Are gathered in a single dance

That turns them round and round.

The fox cub trots his almost pathless path

As silent as his absence.

These passings resurrect

A joy without defect,

The life that steps and sings in ways of death.

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