Sunday, October 4, 2009

WORK, PATIENCE, SABBATH

Work, patience and the Sabbath of God's unresting love

IN THE WOODS ON A SUNDAY. This is from Wendell Berry's "Sabbaths" series of poems in his collection Given (2004, Shoemaker & Hoard). The "Sabbaths" series extends through earlier collections by Berry, too. I gather that these poems emerge from his weekly Sunday walks in the woods near his Kentucky farm that borders the Ohio River. In this poem, I like the way he considers the nature of honorable work and patience and places both in the context of living within the "Sabbath of Thy unresting love."

Teach me work that honors Thy work,
the true economies of goods and words,
to make my arts compatible
with the songs of the local birds.

Teach me patience beyond work
and, beyond patience, the blest
Sabbath of Thy unresting love
which lights all things and gives rest.

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