Tuesday, November 24, 2009

An Ordinary Day













I was sent this poem a few days ago. It is such a beautiful follow-up to yesterday's post.

Listen

XI.

by Wendell Berry

Though he was ill and in pain,


in disobedience to the instruction

he
would have received if he had asked,


the old man got up from his bed,


dressed, and went to the barn.


The bare branches of winter had emerged


through the last leaf-colors of fall,


the loveliest of all, browns and yellows


delicate and nameless in the gray light


and the sifting rain. He put feed


in the troughs for eighteen ewe lambs,


sent the dog for them, and she


brought them. They came eager


to their feed, and he who felt


their hunger was by their feeding


eased. From no place in the time


of present places, within no boundary


nameable in human thought,


they had gathered once again,


the shepherd, his sheep, and his dog


with all the known and the unknown


round about to the heavens' limit.


Was this his stubbornness or bravado?


No. Only an ordinary act


of profoundest intimacy in a day


that might have been better. Still


the world persisted in its beauty,


he in his gratitude, and for this


he had most earnestly prayed.


1 comment:

The Pollinatrix said...

This will be simmering in my soul for a while.

I adore Wendell Berry, but I don't think I'd read this one.