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The Wild Geese

by Wendell Berry



Horseback on Sunday morning,

harvest over, we taste persimmon

and wild grape, sharp sweet

of summer's end. In time's maze

over fall fields, we name names

that went west from here, names

that rest on graves. We open

a persimmon seed to find the tree

that stands in promise,

pale, in the seed's marrow.

Geese appear high over us,

pass and the sky closes. Abandon,

as in love or sleep, holds

them to their way, clear,

in the ancient faith: what we need

is here. And we pray, not

for new earth or heaven, but to be quiet in heart, and in eye

clear. What we need is here.


Wendell Erdman Berry is an American novelist, poet, essayist, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer. Closely identified with rural Kentucky, Berry developed many of his agrarian themes in the early essays of The Gift of Good Land and The Unsettling of America.

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