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Best Famous Wendell Berry Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Wendell Berry poems. This is a select list of the best famous Wendell Berry poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Wendell Berry poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Wendell Berry poems.

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by Wendell Berry | |

The Real Work

 It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.


by Wendell Berry | |

What We Need Is Here

 Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes.
Abandon, as in love or sleep, holds them to their way, clear in the ancient faith: what we need is here.
And we pray, not for new earth or heaven, but to be quiet in heart, and in eye, clear.
What we need is here.


by Wendell Berry | |

1991-I

 The year begins with war.
Our bombs fall day and night, Hour after hour, by death Abroad appeasing wrath, Folly, and greed at home.
Upon our giddy tower We'd oversway the world.
Our hate comes down to kill Those whom we do not see, For we have given up Our sight to those in power And to machines, and now Are blind to all the world.
This is a nation where No lovely thing can last.
We trample, gouge, and blast; The people leave the land; The land flows to the sea.
Fine men and women die, The fine old houses fall, The fine old trees come down: Highway and shopping mall Still guarantee the right And liberty to be A peaceful murderer, A murderous worshipper, A slender glutton, Forgiving No enemy, forgiven By none, we live the death Of liberty, become What we have feared to be.


by Wendell Berry | |

1991-II

 The ewes crowd to the mangers;
Their bellies widen, sag;
Their udders tighten.
Soon The little voices cry In morning cold.
Soon now The garden must be worked, Laid off in rows, the seed Of life to come brought down Into the dark to rest, Abide awhile alone, And rise.
Soon, soon again The cropland must be plowed, For the years promise now Answers the years desire, Its hunger and its hope.
This goes against the time When food is bought, not grown.
O come into the market With cash, and come to rest In this economy Where all we need is money To be well stuffed and free By sufferance of our Lord, The Chairman of the Board.
Because theres thus no need To plant ones ground with seed.
Under the seasons sway, Against the best advice, In time of death and tears, In slow snowfall of years, Defiant and in hope, We keep an older way In light and breath to stay This household on its slope


by Wendell Berry | |

In this World

 The hill pasture, an open place among the trees,
tilts into the valley.
The clovers and tall grasses are in bloom.
Along the foot of the hill dark floodwater moves down the river.
The sun sets.
Ahead of nightfall the birds sing.
I have climbed up to water the horses and now sit and rest, high on the hillside, letting the day gather and pass.
Below me cattle graze out across the wide fields of the bottomlands, slow and preoccupied as stars.
In this world men are making plans, wearing themselves out, spending their lives, in order to kill each other.


by Wendell Berry | |

Like The Water

 Like the water
of a deep stream,
love is always too much.
We did not make it.
Though we drink till we burst, we cannot have it all, or want it all.
In its abundance it survives our thirst.
In the evening we come down to the shore to drink our fill, and sleep, while it flows through the regions of the dark.
It does not hold us, except we keep returning to its rich waters thirsty.
We enter, willing to die, into the commonwealth of its joy.


by Wendell Berry | |

Ripening

 The longer we are together
the larger death grows around us.
How many we know by now who are dead! We, who were young, now count the cost of having been.
And yet as we know the dead we grow familiar with the world.
We, who were young and loved each other ignorantly, now come to know each other in love, married by what we have done, as much as by what we intend.
Our hair turns white with our ripening as though to fly away in some coming wind, bearing the seed of what we know.
It was bitter to learn that we come to death as we come to love, bitter to face the just and solving welcome that death prepares.
But that is bitter only to the ignorant, who pray it will not happen.
Having come the bitter way to better prayer, we have the sweetness of ripening.
How sweet to know you by the signs of this world!


by Wendell Berry | |

The peace of wild things

 When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of 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 for their light.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.


by Wendell Berry | |

A Meeting

 In a dream I meet
my dead friend.
He has, I know, gone long and far, and yet he is the same for the dead are changeless.
They grow no older.
It is I who have changed, grown strange to what I was.
Yet I, the changed one, ask: "How you been?" He grins and looks at me.
"I been eating peaches off some mighty fine trees.
"


by Wendell Berry | |

The Man Born to Farming

 The Grower of Trees, the gardener, the man born to farming,
whose hands reach into the ground and sprout
to him the soil is a divine drug.
He enters into death yearly, and comes back rejoicing.
He has seen the light lie down in the dung heap, and rise again in the corn.
His thought passes along the row ends like a mole.
What miraculous seed has he swallowed That the unending sentence of his love flows out of his mouth Like a vine clinging in the sunlight, and like water Descending in the dark?


by Wendell Berry | |

The Lilies

 Amid the gray trunks of ancient trees we found
the gay woodland lilies nodding on their stems,
frail and fair, so delicately balanced the air
held or moved them as it stood or moved.
The ground that slept beneath us woke in them and made a music of the light, as it had waked and sung in fragile things unnumbered years, and left their kind no less symmetrical and fair for all that time.
Does my land have the health of this, where nothing falls but into life?


by Wendell Berry | |

The Silence

 Though the air is full of singing
my head is loud
with the labor of words.
Though the season is rich with fruit, my tongue hungers for the sweet of speech.
Though the beech is golden I cannot stand beside it mute, but must say "It is golden," while the leaves stir and fall with a sound that is not a name.
It is in the silence that my hope is, and my aim.
A song whose lines I cannot make or sing sounds men's silence like a root.
Let me say and not mourn: the world lives in the death of speech and sings there.


by Wendell Berry | |

The Wish to be Generous

 ALL that I serve will die, all my delights,
the flesh kindled from my flesh, garden and field,
the silent lilies standing in the woods,
the woods, the hill, the whole earth, all
will burn in man's evil, or dwindle
in its own age.
Let the world bring on me the sleep of darkness without stars, so I may know my little light taken from me into the seed of the beginning and the end, so I may bow to mystery, and take my stand on the earth like a tree in a field, passing without haste or regret toward what will be, my life a patient willing descent into the grass.


by Wendell Berry | |

A Warning To My Readers

 Do not think me gentle
because I speak in praise
of gentleness, or elegant
because I honor the grace
that keeps this world.
I am a man crude as any, gross of speech, intolerant, stubborn, angry, full of fits and furies.
That I may have spoken well at times, is not natural.
A wonder is what it is.


by Wendell Berry | |

Woods

 I part the out thrusting branches
and come in beneath
the blessed and the blessing trees.
Though I am silent there is singing around me.
Though I am dark there is vision around me.
Though I am heavy there is flight around me.


by Wendell Berry | |

For The Future

 Planting trees early in spring,
we make a place for birds to sing
in time to come.
How do we know? They are singing here now.
There is no other guarantee that singing will ever be.


by Wendell Berry | |

Water

 I was born in a drouth year.
That summer my mother waited in the house, enclosed in the sun and the dry ceaseless wind, for the men to come back in the evenings, bringing water from a distant spring.
veins of leaves ran dry, roots shrank.
And all my life I have dreaded the return of that year, sure that it still is somewhere, like a dead enemys soul.
Fear of dust in my mouth is always with me, and I am the faithful husband of the rain, I love the water of wells and springs and the taste of roofs in the water of cisterns.
I am a dry man whose thirst is praise of clouds, and whose mind is something of a cup.
My sweetness is to wake in the night after days of dry heat, hearing the rain.