21 February 2008

a poem

poetry speaks to me in a way that prose just can't, no matter how thrilling i find happily-ever-after ... it is on a level so much more elemental, visceral - proceeding from instinct rather than intellect ... and it frustrates me that i can't accurately explain what it is about certain poems that is so powerful to me, even knowing how rarely one can explain instinct...

anyway, a poem...

The Dream

I dream an inescapable dream
in which I take away from the country

the bridges and roads, the fences, the strung wires,
ourselves, all we have built and dug and hollowed out,

our flocks and herds, our droves of machines.

I restore then the wide-branching trees.
see growing over the land and shading it
the great trunks and crowns of the first forest.

I am aware of the rattling of their branches,

the lichened channels of their bark, the saps

of the ground flowing upward to their darkness.

Like the afterimage of a light that only by not

looking can be seen, I glimpse the country that was.

All its beings belong wholly to it. They florish

in dying as being born. It is the life of its deaths.

I must end, always, by replacing
our beginnings there, ourselves and our blades,
the flowing of history, putting back what i took away,
trying always with the same pain of foreknowlwdge
to build all that we have built, but destroy nothing.

My hands weakening, I feel on all sides blindness
growing in the land on its peering bulbous stalks.
I see that my mind is not good enough.
I see that I am eager to own the earth and own men.
I find in my mouth a bitter taste of money,
a gaping syllable I can neither swallow nor spit out.
I see all that we have ruined in order to have, all
that was owned for a life time to be
destroyed forever.

Where are the sleeps that escape such dreams?

~Wendell Berry, 1968

i wonder if this is how god feels looking down on creation, sometimes...


  1. I like this poem because it is like God looking down upon the world wondering why people had chosen greed over a life of endless peace.

  2. Wow that is do intense Tessa, I really like it.

  3. hey tessa, can you shoot me your email, I have cat pictures for you to decide on your hat.