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The Silence (Poem)

A poem By Wendell Berry

Though the air is full of singing

my head is loud

with the labor of words.

Though the season is rich

with fruit, my tongue

hungers for the sweet of speech.

Though the beech is golden

I cannot stand beside it

mute, but must say

"It is golden" while the leaves

stir and fall with a sound

that is not a name

It is in the silence

that my hope is, and my aim.

A song whose lines

I cannot make or sing

sounds men's silence

like a root. Let me say

and not mourn : the world

lives in the death of speech

and sings there.

The silence I have heard recently "sounds [my] silence like a root"--probing deep into unturned places within me.

Being a small farmer is hard: untranslatable in many ways to those not farming. It unfolds and sings in a place where speech can't go. It "lives in the death of speech and sings there."

And yet I am compelled to engage with farming which is as mysterious and strange and awe-inspiring as a a shedding beech tree and stutter that it is "golden"--which falls so flat.

I shy from writing about this thing called farming and I have largely avoided it recently--and yet, the song in my head must be released or else...

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