Random thoughts from an animal-loving French prof / mom of three on things she finds beautiful, funny, sad, or strange.

Friday, April 29, 2016

"How to be a poet"

I know it's been a while since I've written much on here myself. It's in the works and will be posted in the next few days. For now, enjoy my last poetry month post. I wanted to celebrate both the craft of poetry and the incredible talent of Kentucky poets, and who better to do that than the great Wendell Berry. May these words speak to you as they do to me.

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 poems,
doubt their judgment.


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.

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