Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wendell Berry: "How to be a poet (to remind myself)"

Stillness speaking.

How To Be a Poet

by Wendell Berry

(to remind myself)

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your work,
doubt their judgment.

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.

Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

from Given, 2005

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A propos Nov 4th

Yes, I am excited about the outcome of the election yesterday. Although it is unclear to me what exactly Obama's change means, his willingness to change and to be a flexible, unifying president rather than an antagonising leader working solely in a landscape of black-and-white and sharp contrasts without being able or willing to see nuances in the complex reality we live in, makes me hopeful.

"The new dawn of American leadership is at hand"? I certainly hope so.

Underneath are two statements from the candidates for presidency reaching outside the area of politics.


"There are greater pursuits than self-seeking. Glory is not a conceit. It is not a prize for being the most clever, the strongest, or the boldest. Glory belongs to the act of being constant to something greater than yourself." - John McCain

"I reject a politics that is based solely on racial identity, gender identity, sexual orientation, or victimhood generally. I think much of what ails the inner city involves a breakdown in culture that will not be cured by money alone, and that our values and spiritual life matter at least as much as our GDP." - Barack Obama