June 9, 2021 Courtney Napier

“2008, XII”

Wendell Berry leaves a striking thought in this poem: a life of remembering well, of choosing life and freedom in the places we inhabit, is a life none of us have yet lived. We make offerings to gods too small. We bless what will finally destroy the soil that nourishes us. And yet, the idea that we might become free persists.

2008, XII
Wendell Berry

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…Hosea 4:6

We forget the land we stand on
and live from. We set ourselves
free in an economy founded
on nothing, on greed verified
by fantasy, on which we entirely
depend. We depend on fire
that consumes the world without
lighting it. To this dark blaze
driving the inert metal
of our most high desire
we offer our land as fuel,
thus offering ourselves at last
to be burned. This is our riddle
to which the answer is a life
that none of us has lived.

This poem was published on Poets.org

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