The Gift of Gravity by Wendell Berry

All that passes descends,
and ascends again unseen
into the light: the river
coming down from sky
to hills, from hills to sea,
and carving as it moves,
to rise invisible,
gathered to light, to return
again. "The river's injury
is its shape." I've learned no more.
We are what we are given
and what is taken away;
blessed be the name
of the giver and taker.
For everything that comes
is a gift, the meaning always
carried out of sight
to renew our whereabouts,
always a starting place.
And every gift is perfect
in its beginning, for it
is "from above, and cometh down
from the Father of lights."
Gravity is grace.
All that has come to us
has come as the river comes,
given in passing away.
And if our wickedness
destroys the watershed,
dissolves the beautiful field,
then I must grieve and learn
that I possess by loss
the earth I live upon
and stand in and am. The dark
and then the light will have it.
I am newborn of pain
to love the new-shaped shore
where young cottonwoods
take hold and thrive in the wound,
kingfishers already nesting
in a hole in the sheared bank.
"What is left is what is"--
have learned no more. The shore
turns green under the songs
of the fires of the world's end,
and what is there to do?
Imagine what exists
so that it may shine
in thought light and day light,
lifted up in the mind.
The dark returns to light 
in the kingfisher's blue and white
richly laid together.
He falls into flight
from the broken ground,
with strident outcry gathers
air under his wings.
In work of love, the body
forgets its weight. And once
again with love and singing
in mind, I come to what
must come to me, carried
as a dancer by a song.
This grace is gravity.



For the moments when you want to scream and tear your hair out in frustration:
From three years, five years, ten years
"Down the road," as they say,
Or downstream, even better.
Remember this moment
As it will be when
The hot flush has long cooled,
The tears have evaporated
Behind a veil of laughter and other griefs.
Perhaps the memory will give you
A little consolation and
A little perspective.
A little and yet enough to get by.


In a Subjunctive Mood

A morning spent enthralled by
The bobbing dance of a rose thrust
On its stem toward the sky blue;
An afternoon lulled to watchful stillness by
The birdsong of a hundred unseen friends hid
High in the crowns of the trees;
A night caught breathless and trembling by
The span of the starry sphere laid
Out like a map inked with fire.

And you come,
Foreign traveler, alien and stranger,
Invader in this, my other place,
With hands full of beauty
And fingers spread wide. It is
A generosity unspecific, and yet,
I take it to myself and cherish:
In the songless, flowerless winter,
Your light would keep me warm.


So Sorry; After the Fall

Ich und du; aber
Du bist "ich" und
Ich bin "du."
She who comes from nothing
And likewise dissolves
Into naught, distributed
Unequally (like a comet trail in space).
Not even such dignity as that,
If thou exist not for I,
Then thou never wert at all.

"we are for each other." The riddle at the heart of being is the autonomous man and the situated self: I am as I am, but I am for you also, in that I exist for you in a particular way, composed by you in your mind and bound up in a concept. It is, shall we say, your particular nominal essence of me. cummings wrote of love, or at least of feeling, and perhaps did not mean any such philosophical observation. Even so, the observation holds.

What happens when you are for me, but I am not for you? Then only one of us exists, and the other remains bound. There can be no mutually life-giving relationship between a person and an inanimate object. It is the slow starvation of a soul, through refusal to acknowledge its independently valuable existence. The two part ways, and that, itself, is a death in the ending.