I Go Among Trees

Karl Vikas (1875–1934), A Forest Glade
Karl Vikas (1875–1934), A Forest Glade

Wendell Berry’s Sabbath poems create in me a longing to find a quiet spot in the woods where I can take a nap.

1979, Poem I
I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
where I left them, asleep like cattle.

Then what is afraid of me comes
and lives a while in my sight.
What it fears in me leaves me,
and the fear of me leaves it.
It sings, and I hear its song.

Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
and the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.

After days of labor,
mute in my consternations,
I hear my song at last,
and I sing it. As we sing,
the day turns, the trees move.

Wendell Berry, This Day: Sabbath Poems Collected & New, 1979–2013