Thursday, July 6, 2006

TWO KINDS OF FREEDOM

REFLECTING ON FREEDOM. Out of his weekly Sabbath time--a full day of ruminating quietly in the woods near his farm in northern Kentucky--Wendell Berry pens some poignant connections between nature and life. Buried deep within his most recent collection of poems, Given (Shoemaker Hoard, 2005), Berry embeds a brief sequence from his ongoing "Sabbaths" series that apparently emerge from his reflections on America's wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. Here are two initial snippets from "Sabbaths" of 2003. A few more excerpts for the sake of review will follow in a few days.

V

The little stream sings
in the crease of the hill.
It is the water of life. It knows
nothing of death, nothing.
And this is the morning
of Christ's resurrection.
The tomb is empty. There is
no death. Death is our illusion,
our wish to belong only
to ourselves, which is our freedom
to kill one another.
From this sleep may we too
rise, as out of the dark grave.

VI

The politics of illusion, of death's money,
possesses us. This is the Hell, this
the nightmare into which Christ descended
from the cross, from which also he woke
and rose, striding godly forth, so free
that He appeared to Mary Magdalene
to be only the gardener walking about
in the new day, among the flowers.

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