Sunday, February 19, 2017

Eternally Linked Lives


Full Bloom 30. February 19, 2017

The Full Bloom years resurrect your great love,
which exalted you and made you suffer. Those
memories, hidden, but still alive line the way 
you walk with your always inquisitive dog.
What you see are the young hardwood trees,
their branches February bare, but they hold
your gaze and won’t let go. I was in a farmyard
in rural Russia, with people around me, but
so alone. Segregated and tended like a queen
bee, separate bowl and spoon, not allowed
to help. Everyone worked, but not me. I was
the guest. The man I loved with my whole
heart laughed at me. Then I found a stream
bank I could sit beside and write out my
sadness. To have felt connected in an eternal
way and then left alone was anguish enough,
but then he taunted me. I couldn’t see that he
was hurting, too. He’d never tell, but he did
hear me, made time to talk to me, stopped
laughing. It wasn’t a tie we could break,
though we both tried. Those eternally linked
lives can be hard to live with. Yet we did.
Now the bare twigs, their lines clean, their
sap soon to rise, remind me of what I’ll

never lose, no matter how long I live.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Questionnaire by Wendell Berry


Goff Creek with muddy water, prior to coal ash dumping in Brickhaven, Chatham County, N.C. photo: John Wagner, 2015

Here's a questionnaire for you. One size fits all.

***
QUESTIONNAIRE by Wendell Berry from New Collected Poems, p.375, 2012

1. How much poison are you willing
to eat for the success of the free
market and global trade? Please
name your preferred poisons.

2. For the sake of goodness, how much
evil are you willing to do?
Fill in the following blanks
with the names of your favorite
evils and acts of hatred.

3. What sacrifices are you prepared
to make for culture and civilization?
Please list the monuments, shrines,
and works of art you would
most willingly destroy.

4. In the name of patriotism and
the flag, how much of our beloved
land are you willing to desecrate?
List in the following spaces
the mountains, rivers, towns, farms
we could most readily do without.

5. State briefly the ideas, ideals, or hopes,
the energy sources, the kinds of security
for which you would kill a child.
Name please the children whom

you would be willing to kill.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Our Life Purpose


Judy's portrait by Anne Shields, part of a group portrait of North Carolina women of letters, 1992, screen shot from my website.

****

Full Bloom 28  February 5, 2017

If aging doesn’t firm up our life purpose
we lose ground rapidly. We’ve been
moseying along, doing our best but not
having to walk into a stiff wind and work
to keep our goals in the front of our minds.
Sleep pulls us in before we know what
has happened. Time sifts so easily between
our fingers. To achieve what we wish to
leave completed behind us means focusing
anew every day on our life purpose, which
is entwined now with our lifetime goals. 
In my earthbound life what have I learned? 
To see people’s goodness and contradictions,
to know most of us are doing the best we can,
that we all fail and stumble more than we
want to. I see where most are blind, but
then it’s also true that I’m seen. What I
give comes back around to sustain me.
We all want to be seen and known for who 
we are, for that core in us that makes us 
different from every other living soul.
In my core I know I’m alone more than
most. I have work only I can do: books
to publish, a justice fight to finish if I
can. I must take care of this community 
which welcomed a stranger and the farm
where I grow my food, the integrity of
purpose I’ve kept these nearly eighty years. 
I can’t afford to die until I’ve finished.