VII by Wendell Berry I would not have been a poet
except that I have been in love
alive in this mortal world,
or an essayist except that I
have been bewildered and afraid,
or a storyteller had I not heard
stories passing to me through the air,
or a writer at all except
I have been wakeful at night
and words have come to me
out of their deep caves
needing to be remembered.
But on the days I am lucky
or blessed, I am silent.
I go into the one body
that two make in making marriage
that for all
our trying, all our deaf-and-dumb of speech,
has no tongue. Or I give myself to gravity, light, and air
and am carried back to solitary work in fields
and woods, where my hands rest upon a world unnamed,
complete, unanswerable, and
final as our daily bread and meat.
The way of love leads all
ways to life beyond words, silent
and secret. To serve that triumph
I have done all the rest.
"VII" from the poem "1994" by Wendell Berry, from A Timbered Choir: The Sabbath Poems 1979–1997. © Counterpoint, 1998. Reprinted with permission.