How to be a poet

7678478928_55ea4c0503

Photo: No Child Left Inside by Becky Jaffe

How To Be a Poet

By Wendell Berry

(to remind myself)

i
Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.
ii
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.
iii
Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

 

If you are a poetry teacher, Nature in Vision & Verse is a great resource for lesson planning. I am available for guest presentations in schools on nature photography and nature poetry. Please contact me if you would like me to present in your classroom.