November verse 13

A lot of my reading recently has seemed to be about ways of being in a place: Journey to Horseshoe Bend is deeply place-specific;  peasants chose to return to their land near Chernobyl even though it had been poisoned by the nuclear accident; Adam Aitken’s Archipelago is largely about his connection to parts of France; James Rebanks’ The Shepherd’s Life (I’m still reading it) is, among other things, about belonging to the Lake District in England. Somewhere I read that Wendell Berry, poet–farmer from Kentucky, told Naomi Klein:

Stop somewhere and begin the thousand-year process of knowing that place.

Seems as good a place as any to start a 14 line rhyme:

November verse 13: In reply to Wendell Berry
A thousand years? Time’s wingèd chariot
hurrying near calls that one’s bluff.
To find a place and marry it
might last a lifetime, not enough.
So here’s the work of generations,
fifty by my calculations.
My grandfather managed three
in sugar country. Two for me
in the Inner West.
___________________But that’s assuming
we’re the starters. All around
are people who’ve lived on this ground
for sixty thousand years. A human
humbly learns from others’ stories,
humbly shines with others’ glories.


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