The On Being Project

The Poetry Radio Project

“Sabbaths – 1985, I”

Not again in this flesh will I see
 the old trees stand here as they did,
 weighty creatures made of light, delight
 of their making straight in them and well,
 whatever blight our blindness was or made,
 however thought or act might fail.

The burden of absence grows, and I pay
 daily the grief I owe to love
 for women and men, days and trees
 I will not know again. Pray
 for the world’s light thus borne away.
 Pray for the little songs that wake and move.

For comfort as these lights depart,
 recall again the angels of the thicket,
 columbine aerial in the whelming tangle,
 song drifting down, light rain, day
 returning in song, the lordly Art
 piecing out its humble way.

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.

© Wendell Berry. This poem is excerpted from "The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry" and is reprinted with permission of the author and Counterpoint Press.

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