By what blessedness do I weep?

Dear readers,

Thank you for joining me for another National Poetry Month. I hope you’ve enjoyed the last four weeks of verse–and I hope even more that you continue to seek out poetry all year long. For now, I will close with this selection from the magnificent writer, activist, and farmer Wendell Berry (1934-).

 

from  Sabbaths 1998

I

Whatever happens,
those who have learned 
to love one another 
have made their way
to the lasting world
and will not leave,
whatever happens.

II

This is the time you’d like to stay.
Not a leaf stirs. There is no sound.
The fireflies lift light from the ground.
You’ve shed the vanities of when
And how and why, for now. And then
The phone rings. You are called away.

III

Early in the morning, walking
in a garden in Vancouver
three thousand miles from your grave,
the sky dripping, song
sparrows singing in the borders,
I come suddenly upon
a Japanese dogwood, a tree
you loved, bowed down with bloom.
By what blessedness do I weep?

IV

The woods and pastures are joyous
in their abundance now
in a season of warmth and much rain.
We walk amidst foliage, amidst
song. The sheep and cattle graze 
like souls and bliss (except for flies)
and lie down satisfied. Who now
can believe in winter? In winter
who could have hoped for this?

Some griefs augment the heart

I never grow tired of Jane Hirshfield (1953-) and her clear, calming verse.

“Stone and Knife”

One angle blunts, another sharpens
Loss also: stone & knife

Some griefs augment the heart,
enlarge;
some stunt.

Scentless loosestrife,
rooms unwalked in,
these losses are small.

Others cannot be described at all.

Nobody’s stronger than forgiveness

This Franz Wright (1953-) poem renders me speechless.

“Did This Ever Happen to You”

A marble-colored cloud
engulfed the sun and stalled,

a skinny squirrel limped toward me
as I crossed the empty park

and froze, the last
or next to last

fall leaf fell but before it touched
the earth, with shocking clarity

I heard my mother’s voice
pronounce my name. And in an instant I passed

beyond sorrow and terror, and was carried up
into the imageless

bright darkness
I came from

and am. Nobody’s
stronger than forgiveness.