PoetryToday’s Word: ‘Poetry’ as in… Wendell Berry’s Poetry.

Wendell Berry is an American novelist, poet, essayist, environmental activist and cultural critic. Wendell Berry is also a farmer, which, when you read his works you discover that his commitment to stewarding the land drives all of those other passions. Search online for all things Wendell Erdman Berry, and you’ll be scrolling for days.

To scratch our Berry itch, Nancy Lee and I are looking forward to pairing Wendell Berry’s “This Day: Collected & New Sabbath Poems” with the coming Lenten season. We’ll use a resource from the fine folks at http://www.saltproject.org that uses his poetry to explore the Sabbath; giving things a rest, some space, some new life. We’re excited to let his writings guide our days and stir our thinking.

Just yesterday we were reading a poem from a collection called “Sabbaths 2013.” Whenever I encounter a poem, I usually read it twice. The first time I read a poem, I just get all of the words inside me. The second time through I begin to look for meaning. That’s usually when something special happens. Something very special happened when I read the last seven lines of the second stanza of “Sabbaths 2013.”

Before I take you there, let me say that jumping into the middle of a poem and trying to understanding what’s going on is nearly impossible. I get it. Berry is writing about a poet and the poet’s craft. He provides an image of what the poet (or writer) does with words.

Berry’s writes:

“He is a gatherer of fragments, a cobbler of pieces. Piece by piece he tells a story without end, for in the time of this world no end can come. It is the story of eternity’s shining, much shadowed, much put off, in time. And time, however long, falls short.”

I think of all the fragments we enjoy here; the fragments of the stories of our lives and how they create life and more life for all of us. What story are you telling today? What kind of poetry is being written into eternity through you today?


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