Monday, May 3, 2010

One among many

The dilemma of choice was upon me yesterday. I was trying to find the very poem to live this week, the very poem to be my inspiration, information, soul-stirrer, walking companion.....

Bringing a poem into my life is no small thing, I am a demanding reader. I skimmed first lines, second lines, last lines, looking for the right feel. But nothing seemed to click.

There is something about abundance. Too much choice, and my mind starts spinning. At times I wish there was just the One. The One opinion. The One right way of doing things. The One Poem.

Yet if anyone would offer me that One and Only, I would run for my life.

Still. She who seeks, shall find.

Suddenly my mind went quiet, the spinning stopped. I was out among trees, and all my stirring became quiet.

I Go Among Trees and Sit Still

by Wendell Berry

I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
where I left them, asleep like cattle.

Then what is afraid of me comes
and lives a while in my sight.
What it fears in me leaves me,
and the fear of me leaves it.
It sings, and I hear its song.

Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
and the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.

After days of labor,
mute in my consternations,
I hear my song at last,
and I sing it. As we sing,
the day turns, the trees move.

From A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997


  1. I can't tell you how just much it is that the trees quiet me, too. It does something to me to be out there amongst them.

    I did my long walk yesterday, out of town and down long dirt roads with not a car passing. I was quiet in between my jumping at the buds, every day rendering a different stage of development. It had rained and so the bark of the trees was rich. The deep colours, the contrast, had me jumping in the moment as though I were walking through an art museum and I had come upon a piece that moved me. And then quiet again, those concentric rings on water, and then white bud, white bud, white bud, pink! HOly holy. OUt of my skin! And then quiet again.

    To walk amongst trees is my greatest venture, my greatest ease, my greatest stimulation. I am easy that way.


  2. That's a perfect tree poem, Grete. As I walk around my block every day, the trees greet me, and if I'm lucky, they wave in a breeze. I'm carefully watching the 5 elegant Magnolias covered in buds and eagerly awaiting their fragrant, magnificent flowers. Great post! I hope you have a wonderful week. Blessings!

  3. I adore Wendell Berry! Thank you for sharing this. There is something soothing about walking among the trees...

  4. It is to the woods I escape when I need serenity. I loved this poem, the whole concept of living a poem.

    There is a line by Robert Frost:
    “The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

    It reminds me where the serenity lies, but to keep going in the direction I need. (Hugs)Indigo

  5. Erin -

    Yes, trees are special. They have their very own personalities. No wonder Tolkien created trees with legs and arms and moving hearts. I walk among trees and have friends among them.

    Also they spread calm and tranquility. Like links between heaven and earth.

    “walking through an art museum” - I love that. And then - Holy, holy, holy.

    Marion -

    Wave in a breeze - yes, those thin arms, and eventually the giant, green hands......
    I also walk past budding Magnolias every day. I take pictures to better see their growth. The lens makes me pay extra attention.
    A wonderful week to you as well!

    ds -

    As I’m Norwegian, Wendell Berry is not a familiar name. But I found him, and I’m grateful.
    Yes, to walk among trees is a treat......

    Indigo -

    Thank you for the Robert Frost quote! I have read it earlier, but will find it again. This notion - to seek serenity, to find it - and then keep going. .....


  6. Love this tree photo and of course the poem.

  7. Lynda -

    Thanks for visiting! Glad you like my choice of poem. And the tree!


  8. Wow, what a wonderfully spacious poem...
    These lines;

    "What it fears in me leaves me,
    and the fear of me leaves it."

    just go to the essence of it, for me.
    Thank you for sharing....