3 Poems by Wendell Berry

From A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997, poems meant for reading time and again, at a slow pace, over the years.

These poems appeared in the Sabbath edition of Trinity News. To receive a free subscription to the print edition of Trinity News, send your mailing address to news@trinitywallstreet.org. (Please note that in doing so, we may use your email and mailing addresses to inform you of special parish events and resources available on this website).

Enclosing the field within bounds
sets it apart from the boundless
of which it was, and is, a part,
and places it within care.
The bounds of the field bind
the mind to it. A bride
adorned, the field now wears
the green veil of a season’s
abounding. Open the gate!
Open it wide, that time
and hunger may come in.


The dark around us, come,
Let us meet here together,
Members one of another,
Here in our holy room,
Here on our little floor,
Here in the daylit sky,
Rejoicing mind and eye,
Rejoining known and knower,
Light, leaf, foot, hand, and wing,
Such order as we know,
One household, high and low,
And all the earth shall sing.


Now with its thunder spring
Returns. The river, raised,
Carries the rain away.
Carp wallow in the shoals
Above our flooded fields.
Jonquils return to dooryards
Of vanished houses. Phoebes
Return to build again
Under the stilted porch.

On thicketed hillsides
The young trees bud and bloom;
They stand in poisoned air
In their community.
Twinleaf and bloodroot flower
Out of the fallen leaves.
At flood’s edge all night long
The little frogs are singing.
In the dark barn, hard rain
Loud on the roof, long time
Till dawn, the young ewe calls
The lamb yet in her womb.

From A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997 by Wendell Berry.
Copyright © 1998. Published and reprinted by arrangement with Counterpoint
Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group. All rights reserved.