(to remind myself)

A friend recently asked if I'd read any of Wendell Berry's work. I hadn't, so Jake picked up a few books from the library on our way to Arizona. We've been going through his poetry collections. One poem, among many, that's been on my mind is one about his craft.

How to Be a Poet 
(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 judgement. 
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. 
I love the description of words coming out of silence like prayers. We all have the ability to hear those words, and they can be the inspiration for action in many different ways. Wendell Berry brings them together to form poetry. I could just as easily think of this poem as "How to Receive Inspiration" or maybe "How to Grow." Many of the words that come to us are lost because we're not listening, or too distracted by other things to give them meaning in our lives.

We "reconnected" our internet at home because it's easier for Jake to grade and communicate with his students. He doesn't have typical "office hours" as he goes straight from class to accompanying, so to avoid spending extra hours away from home, he can take care of part of that here. With that said, my three-ish weeks of no internet at my disposal was great. With the exception of wanting to be able to check my email daily, everything else was better than I imagined. I checked out books from the library....and I started reading them. Crazy. I'm a few chapters into a calculus book even. Spending my time the way I imagined it could be spent made me realize that's really how I want to live my life: "three-dimensioned [...] away from screens." It's a struggle, certainly, but I've seen the light. ;)  

1 comment:

  1. While it is great to separate yourself from the internet and all, I miss your posts so much! Think of how much we need to read your positive, calm word! I love you!



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