April 19, 2013

Poetry Friday--"The Wish to Be Generous"

It's been a sad week, especially for those of us who live in the Boston area. Boston has always been a city full of life, but how quickly that changed on Monday. I don't wish to dwell on the subject, I just want to offer, and to take, comfort from this poem 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.



Irene Latham is this week's host of the Round-Up. Visit her at Live Your Poem...

Photo by Edward S. Curtis courtesy Library of Congress.

21 comments:

  1. Wendell Berry always gets it right. Love "bow to mystery" and may include this in my "How to Live Your Poem" series. Thank you, Diane!

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  2. This is so beautiful, so perfect for this week. Thank you, Diane. xo, a.

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    1. Thanks, Amy! I have it on good authority that you will soon be receiving a bunch of thank you notes. I saw some--you're in for a treat!

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  3. "my little light taken from me into the seed"

    These little lights of ours do add up when taken into the seed. Thank you for shining, and God Bless you and Boston!

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  4. Thanks for sharing this one, Diane. What more can we wish for than to pass "without haste or regret" and that our light is taken into other seeds.
    Best wishes during this difficult time.

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  5. I hear you, Diane. Though I've lived in a few different places since then, in many ways Boston still feels like home to me. I still have many close friends who live there and have been keeping Boston close to my heart this past week. Thank you for sharing the comfort.

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    1. I lived in Arlington, and now in NH, but, whenever I meet people who are not from New England, I always say I'm from the Boston area. It's a great little city.

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  6. So many thoughts and prayers for Boston tonight. My eyes are glued to the TV. How can this terror steal our time, our attention?
    This poem speaks to me. I will be a tree patiently standing with my feet on the grass. Poetry is like that, grounding.

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    1. "Grounding," how true! Thanks, Margaret.

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  7. A perfect choice for this week. My thoughts have been with everyone living there.

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    1. Thank you, Jone. Now we have to work to find out the reasons behind the act.

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  8. Thanks for sharing this poem, Diane. It's sobering, but beautiful. May we learn how to bow graciously to mystery.

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    1. "Bow graciously to mystery"--so true, so true. If we all bow together, we'll get through.

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  9. so I may know
    my little light taken from me into the seed
    of the beginning and the end

    I looked for solace and I got grief: the journey from "this little light of mine" to "my little light taken from me", the loss of innocence, my own children's fear...I wish to be more patient, more generous. Thank you, Diane, and also for playing my 30w30d game!

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  10. Heidi, hug your children tight and let them know the love, and hope that it's enough.

    The 30w30d game is turning out to be quite interesting! For those not familiar with it, click here.

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  11. "like a tree in a field, passing without haste
    or regret toward what will be"

    Yes.

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  12. Hi Mary Lee and Ruth! Nice of you to stop by on this gorgeous (at least in NH) day!

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  13. This is beautiful, Diane. Thanks for sharing it!

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