100 Book Challenge—Book #16 Farming: A Handbook by Wendell Berry
Last fall, in one of their update emails, Amazon told me that this book would be coming out and I knew I wanted to read it. I almost pre-ordered it, but since I had so many other things I was trying to read, I decided not to and then lost track of it. This week, during my many library adventures, I found it on a random shelf and decided that Providence was calling me to read it.
I love Wendell Berry. I love the way he writes, the words he uses, the way that his poetry echoes the song in my heart. I love the way that reading his words make me feel like I’m laying down in the field at home or sitting on the front porch of my grandparents’ old house. I love Wendell Berry.
This book is no different. It’s mostly poetry, some of which I had read before, but most of it is new to me. And then, there is a small verse play, which is beautiful in its own way.
I can’t really describe Berry’s poetry to someone who hasn’t read him. He’s wonderful. Please read him if you haven’t. Even my dad loves his work.
One of the poems that I loved was the first in the collection. I thought I would share it.
The Man Born to Farming
The Grower of Trees, the gardener, the man born to farming,
whose hands reach into the ground and sprout,
to him the soil is a divine drug. He enters into death
yearly, and comes back rejoicing. He has seen the light lie down
in the dung heap, and rise again in the corn.
His thought passes along the row ends like a mole.
What miraculous seed has he swallowed
That the unending sentence of his love flows out of his mouth
Like a vine clinging in the sunlight, and like water
Descending in the dark?
100 Book Challenge—Book #12 The Way of Ignorance by Wendell Berry
It’s hard to write a review of a compilation of essays, particularly ones as diverse as Berry’s essays. Some are religious, some are purely environmental, but all speak to my soul. Wendell Berry has been a personal favorite since my week at Bethlehem Farm when Jake Olzen introduced him to me. Since then, I’ve been in love.
I think there is much to learn from him, even when I don’t agree. His love and firm belief in the beauty of nature and his wonderful language, so thoughtful and elegant in spite of his country boy tongue, deliver his message well.
I would recommend reading this book or anything else he writes, particularly his poetry. For my friends who are more theological, the reason I bought this particular book was that I wanted to read his essay “The Burden of the Gospels.” His reflection on what it means to live life more abundantly is thought provoking, though no always exactly in agreement with what we might hear in our classes. But Berry is wise, as he should be in his late seventies, and wonderful to listen to. I recommend him.