Wednesday, October 10, 2007

i hope we never see it

I don't like poetry. Well, that's what I've always said. HWWLLB always told me, it's just because you haven't found a poet you like. He is a great lover (and memorizer) of poetry. I've always admired people who can remember a poem they like, let alone recite it from memory.

There are some poems I like, some funny and famous poems by people like William Carlos Williams and e.e. cummings. But maybe I have finally found a poet I like. After reading a bunch of his poems, I am about to go out and buy a book (or two) of collected poetry by Wendell Berry. Here's one I read last night, which he wrote upon inspiration from his daughter, who once said to him: "I hope there's an animal somewhere that nobody has ever seen. And I hope nobody ever sees it."

TO THE UNSEEABLE ANIMAL

Being, whose flesh dissolves
at our glance, knower
of the secret sums and measures,
you are always here,
dwelling in the oldest sycamores,
visiting the faithful springs
when they are dark and the foxes
have crept to their edges.
I have come upon pools
in streams, places overgrown
with the woods' shadow,
where I knew you had rested,
watching the little fish
hang still in the flow;
as I approached they seemed
particles of your clear mind
disappearing among the rocks.
I have waked deep in the woods
in the early morning, sure
that while I slept
your gaze passed over me.
That we do not know you
is your perfection
and our hope. The darkness
keeps us near you.

-Wendell Berry

I find this poem incredibly moving. The first time I read it, I was in awe of Berry's reverence and gratitude for mystery, and I cried at the wonder of it (sappy, I know). I love the deep quiet of it, and the idea of perfection in unknowing.

7 comments:

  1. your description of the poem sounds like there is a poet in you you are keeping secret...

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  2. That's really beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

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  3. thank you so much for sharing! i had never heard of this particular poet, and i think that i shall be searching for some more to read!

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  4. I bet you would love Mary Oliver. She writes beautifully of the natural world and its interplay of light and dark, in every sense of those words.

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  5. so so beautiful.
    it is magical to find a poet that speaks to you, i think.
    xoxo

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  6. Wendell Berry is an awesome fiction and non-fiction writer too. He is one of my favorite thinkers.

    Ditto about Mary Oliver.

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  7. awesome! I like the poetry, and named my kiddo Elliott Emery so his initals would be ee. I'm a dork! But of course he's named Elliott after Missy Elliott!

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