Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Poem from the Emerson of Our Time

Here's a poem for you motherfuckers. I can almost hear the collective groan. Get educated. TRULY EDUCATED. Learn something real and of worth. This man who wrote the poem, Wendell Berry, is the Emerson of our time. Expand your horizons. Look him up. You won't be disappointed. Like Emerson, you can't separate Mr. Berry from his land (his farm in Kentucky) or his time. He is totally and essentially of both.

If he weren't a modest Kentucky farmer, you might have heard of him already. I'm quite sure if Emerson were alive today, few people would know of him. Think about it. They would know all about stupid Britney Spears and those idiots Jon and Kate, but most people wouldn't know a damn thing about Emerson.

I love Wendell Berry of Kentucky. He is a God in our time. And every word is honest and true, and of course, there is little value in that these days, though it's a precious commodity. This poem is a blueprint for revolution. The only kind that really matters.

Manifesto:The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
by Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery any more.
Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion -- put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.


Petit fleur said...

I wish all Christians were like him. What a great mind and heart. Now I am FORCED to look him up!
Thanks SB. I mean it.
xo pf

michelle said...

I love Wendell Berry. He's The God of Small Farmers.

"Praise ignorance, for what man has not encountered he has not destroyed." Pretty devastating words.

I will remember to "every day do something that won't compute." A liberating plan. Those words make me feel like I can breathe.

Thanks SB

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Yeah, Wendell Berry made me feel like I could breathe all during the Dark Ages. I am referring to the George W. Bush years, of course.

Love you!

nan said...

I absolutely love this poem SB. Thank you so much for connecting me with him. Much love...

Ms. Moon said...

Light. His words are light-filled.
Thank-you, honey. Thank-you.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Your welcome, my dear Nan.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Ms. Moon,
You are ever so welcome. I knew you would get Wendell. You two have a lot in common.



Nellie said...

Yeah, Wendell Berry is the shit. I learned about him a while back in a class I took, at Bennington of course, a real college probably wouldn't jump at the chance to have his teachings in their curriculum. Nothing's really labelled there so the best I can come up with is to call it a class about the fucked up world and all the horrible things we do to our environment. We also read the 'stork and the plow'....scary!
Way to teach the masses SB - keep it up!!!

Sarcastic Bastard said...

I TOTALLY ENVY you attending Bennington. I would give my right arm.

You are so right about his teachings not being in most college curriculums. They'll sure teach Emerson though. They only recognize greatness historically.

Love you, Nellie.