Remember when we
Had justice in this country —
No? — you don’t? — how come?
This poem occupied Friday Evening Conversation:
A Poem On Hope
by Wendell Berry
It is hard to have hope. It is harder as you grow old,
for hope must not depend on feeling good
and there is the dream of loneliness at absolute midnight.
You also have withdrawn belief in the present reality
of the future, which surely will surprise us,
and hope is harder when it cannot come by prediction
any more than by wishing. But stop dithering.
The young ask the old to hope. What will you tell them?
Tell them at least what you say to yourself.
Because we have not made our lives to fit
our places, the forests are ruined, the fields eroded,
the streams polluted, the mountains overturned. Hope
then to belong to your place by your own knowledge
of what it is that no other place is, and by
your caring for it as you care for no other place, this
place that you belong to though it is not yours,
for it was from the beginning and will be to the end.
Belong to your place by knowledge of the others who are
your neighbors in it: the old man, sick and poor,
who comes like a heron to fish in the creek,
and the fish in the creek, and the heron who manlike
fishes for the fish in the creek, and the birds who sing
in the trees in the silence of the fisherman
and the heron, and the trees that keep the land
they stand upon as we too must keep it, or die.
This knowledge cannot be taken from you by power
or by wealth. It will stop your ears to the powerful
when they ask for your faith, and to the wealthy
when they ask for your land and your work.
Answer with knowledge of the others who are here
and how to be here with them. By this knowledge
make the sense you need to make. By it stand
in the dignity of good sense, whatever may follow.
Perhaps it’s no longer about “understanding.”
Rather, it’s a matter of “standing-within.”
Willing is the sober resolution of that existential self- transcendence which exposes itself to the openness of beings as it is set into the work. In this way, standing-within is brought under law. Preserving the work, as knowing, is a sober standing-within the extraordinary awesomeness of the truth that is happening in the work.
(—p.65, Poetry, Language,Thought, Martin Heidegger, 1971)
I don’t understand.
But I’m willing to stand-within.
Stand-within what-is being-said.
You’d only leave the rest of us wondering
The rest of our lives what we could have done
To dissuade you
Never finding a satisfactory answer.
Don’t do it.
Save our lives.
Sitting staring at Bald Mountain.
Thinking about life.
Thinking about my death.
A red Cardinal appears, time to time, on branches across road.
This cool April afternoon.
4 Look and see, there is no one at my right hand;
no one is concerned for me.
I have no refuge;
no one cares for my life. (Ps.142: 4 NIV)
Dog snores by sofa on rug. Cat curls on cushion near red embroidered pillow.
Mountain stays where it is. Yellow school bus climbs hill.
Cardinal off somewhere else.
Let’s look at it this way — there’s no belief with god
There’s either god, or not god -- Belief is temporizing
A tap dance onstage whiling time as backstage scampering
Looks frantically for absconded guest — empty costume room
Beliefs are the running monologue of warmup comedians
Knowing no one will appear, no one will replace them
Stuck in applause and laughter with deadening jokes
Body parts humor anatomical yuks and innuendo
While, elsewhere, untheatered, on vacant roads, in quiet rooms
That which has no name, cannot be seen, makes no sound
Lingers in obscurity presides empty and complete as itself
Today, a conversation between raindrops and opening buds at ends of each branch.
18:3 Dies diéi erúctat verbum, * et nox nocti índicat sciéntiam.
18:4 Non sunt loquélæ, neque sermónes, * quorum non audiántur voces eórum.
18:5 In omnem terram exívit sonus eórum: * et in fines orbis terræ verba eórum.
Psalmus 18 
18:3 Day to day uttereth speech, * and night to night sheweth knowledge.
18:4 There are no speeches nor languages, * where their voices are not heard.
18:5 Their sound hath gone forth into all the earth: * and their words unto the ends of the world.
Psalm 18 
There is no place that does not hear you.
You must attend to the sound your life sonates.
Listening to echoing resonance through enticing silence.
It’s also a secret longing because if you walk down the street and look carefully, you can see it in everybody’s eyes. And if we stop anybody and say, “Are you okay?” and if they could really trust the question, they would say, “No, my heart is breaking. I’m utterly lost. I don’t know what to do. But thank you for asking.”
When magic and sorcery end, something else begins.
Perhaps the cunning and ambiguity of human moral ambivalence.
(—from film, Excalibur, 1981)
This loneliness of singular perception.
The contrasting antipathy of mental dichotomy.
While . . . There . . . Off in the aperspecitval mist and lowering song of waking birds, a hint of something less dense and devastating, a cool morning freshness of transparency and spirit, arising out of the nothing that is and the nothing that is not.
Yes . . .
That, too —
Sight — through and throughout —