Friday, January 29, 2016


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.

Catherine, at Reading to the Core, is hosting Poetry Friday this week. 


Heidi Mordhorst said...

Well, Wendell, that's one way to do it, but I'm not sure it's my way! How about you, Carol--truth or aspiration?

Lovely choice, though--thank you!

Tara said...

There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.

This just makes me want to cry, for so many reasons, some of which I can explain and others I can't bring myself to.

Linda B said...

"Accept what comes from silence". This is lovely Carol. Wendell Berry speaks right to us, doesn't he?

Mary Lee said...

Thanks for the reminder.
Hoping for...planning for more of these conditions.

Catherine Flynn said...

"...make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came." Yes! Thank you for sharing this today.