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How To Be a Poem

Pastor Bob’s sermon today reminded me of a poem by the Kentucky writer, farmer, and activist Wendell Berry. The poem is called “How To Be a Poet” but I think it could be re-titled “How To Be a Poem.” Here’s what I mean: the New Testament says we are “God’s workmanship.” The word used for “workmanship,” poeima, is the same word from which we get our word “poem.” Thus, it’s not too much of a stretch to say that we are “God’s poem.” So much of what Berry describes here is good advice not just for the poet but for anyone who wants to put themselves in the loving hands of the Master Craftsman.

Here is an excerpt:

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.

Here is the full text of the poem.

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