Sunday, April 5, 2009

Wild Blessings

My sister and I saw "Wild Blessings: A Celebration of Wendell Berry" today at Actors Theatre of Louisville. I loved every delicious moment of it. You can read more about it here. The first words were The Mad Farmers Liberation Front and I got weepy and continued to be weepy throughout, so touched am I by his beautiful words.

I'm not sure that I had read The Blue Robe before, and maybe it speaks to my age that it touched me so, or the way the poems built up to that moment in the play, but I fell in love with it.

The Blue Robe
by Wendell Berry
How joyful to be together, alone
as when we first were joined
in our little house by the river
long ago, except that now we know
each other, as we did not then;
and now instead of two stories fumbling
to meet, we belong to one story
that the two, joining, made. And now
we touch each other with the tenderness
of mortals, who know themselves:
how joyful to feel the heart quake
at the sight of a grandmother,
old friend in the morning light,
beautiful in her blue robe!

And just in case there is anyone who doesn't know this amazing piece, I leave you with

The Mad Farmer's Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,

vacation with pay. Want more

of everything ready-made. Be afraid

to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.

Not even your future will be a mystery

any more. Your mind will be punched in a card

and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something

they will call you. When they want you

to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something

that won't compute. Love the Lord.

Love the world. Work for nothing.

Take all that you have and be poor.

Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embracethe flag.

Hope to live in that free

republic for which it stands.

Give your approval to all you cannot

understand. Praise ignorance, for what man

has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.

Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.

Say that your main crop is the forest

that you did not plant,

that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested

when they have rotted into the mold.

Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus

that will build under the trees

every thousand years.

Listen to carrion - put your ear

close, and hear the faint chattering

of the songs that are to come.

Expect the end of the world.


Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful

though you have considered all the facts.

So long as women do not go cheap

for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy

a woman satisfied to bear a child?

Will this disturb the sleep

of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.

Lie down in the shade. Rest your head

in her lap. Swear allegiance

to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos

can predict the motions of your mind,

lose it. Leave it as a sign

to mark the false trail, the way

you didn't go. Be like the fox

who makes more tracks than necessary,

some in the wrong direction.

Practice resurrection.


amanda said...

ohhh so nice to hear about this!! i wonder / hope we will be able to catch one of the performances.

have you ever been to smith-berry winery? they have broadsides from larkspur press of manifesto: the mad farmers liberation front for sale.

sue said...

The tickets are steep- 40 bucks for a matinee, but oh so worth it. Four actors sort of move between roles. Nice music. I loved it.
I have not made it to the winery yet, but a number of my friends have enjoyed some great evenings there. Hopefully this summer!