Friday, July 08, 2005

A Manifesto For All Mad Farmers and other NonConformists from Wendell

This is the final Wendell Berry entry for a while. I hope you enjoy. I will be back to personally blogging later today or early next week (how do people work a real job for a living?).

Among the best poems I have ever read, is Wendell Berry's Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front in which Berry basically secedes from the present state of the union.

It is a manifesto I long to have. If you are a Christian, a revolutionary, an activist, an enviromentalist (or just lover of the outdoors), a friend to the poor or anyone else that does not fit in, I think you will enjoy this poem.

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
embrace the 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. Laugh.
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.

1 comment:

james said...


I have to say thanks for all these Berry quotes. I actually have Berry's "Peaceableness Toward Enemies" open on my computer desktop and I'm reading from bits of it as I work through the day. I find his words regarding war rather nourshing, thorough and remarkably thoughtful.

Thanks my friend. Hope all is settling in well for you.