Quotes from The Collected Poems, 1957-1982

Wendell Berry ·  268 pages

Rating: (1.6K votes)


“It is to be broken. It is to be
torn open. It is not to be
reached and come to rest in
ever. I turn against you,
I break from you, I turn to you.
We hurt, and are hurt,
and have each other for healing.
It is healing. It is never whole.”
― Wendell Berry, quote from The Collected Poems, 1957-1982


“At the window he sits and looks out, musing on the river, a little brown hen duck paddling upstream among the windwaves close to the far bank. What he has understood lies behind him like a road in the woods. He is a wilderness looking out at the wild.”
― Wendell Berry, quote from The Collected Poems, 1957-1982


“Through my history's despite
and ruin, I have come
to its remainder, and here
have made the beginning
of a farm intended to become
my art of being here.
By it I would instruct
my wants: they should belong
to each other and to this place.
Until my song comes here
to learn its words, my art
is but the hope of song.

(Part 2 from History is Clearing, p 174)”
― Wendell Berry, quote from The Collected Poems, 1957-1982


“The Satisfactions of the Mad Farmer...the quiet in the woods of a summer morning, the voice of a pewee passing through it like a tight silver wire; ...”
― Wendell Berry, quote from The Collected Poems, 1957-1982


“What I know of spirit is astir in the world. The god I have always expected to appear at the woods' edge, beckoning, I have always expected to be a great relisher of this world, its good grown immortal in his mind.”
― Wendell Berry, quote from The Collected Poems, 1957-1982



“...And yet a knowledge
is here that tenses the throat
as for song: the inheritance
of the ones, alive or once
alive, who stand behind
the ones I have imagined,
who took into their minds
the troubles of this place,
blights of love and race,
but saw a good fate here
and willingly paid its cost,
kept it the best they could,
thought of its good,
and mourned the good they lost.

(From the ending of Where in Clearing, p179)”
― Wendell Berry, quote from The Collected Poems, 1957-1982


“Those who will not learn
in plenty to keep their place
must learn it by their need
when they have had their way
and the fields spurn their seed.
We have failed Thy grace.
Lord, I flinch and pray,
send Thy necessity.
"We Who Prayed and Wept", p. 211.”
― Wendell Berry, quote from The Collected Poems, 1957-1982


About the author

Wendell Berry
Born place: in Kentucky, The United States
Born date August 5, 1934
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