Sunday, June 5, 2011

Window Poems by Wendell Berry

The poems were birthed while Berry looked out of the multi-paned window of his writing studio which he called "The Long-Legged House."

“Window Poem” 15.

The sycamore gathers

out of the sky, white

in the glance that looks up to it

through the black crisscross

of the window. But it is not a glance

that it offers itself to.

It is no lightning stroke

caught in the eye. It stays,

an old holding in place.

And its white is not so pure

as a glance would have it,

but emerges partially,

the tree’s renewal of itself,

among the mottled browns

and olives of the old bark.

Its dazzling comes into the sun

a little at a time

as though a god in it

is slowly revealing himself.

How often the man of the window

has studied its motley trunk,

the out-starting of its branches,

its smooth crotches,

its revelations of whiteness,

hoping to see beyond his glances,

the distorting geometry

of preconceptions and habit,

to know it beyond words.

All he has learned of it

does not add up to it.

There is a bird who nests in it

in the summer and seems to sing of it-

the quick lights among its leaves

-better than he can.

It is not by him imagining

its whiteness comes.

The world is greater than its words.

To speak of it the mind must bend.

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