Wendell Berry

marshallz10(z9-10 CA)July 1, 2012


The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

by Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,

vacation with pay. Want more

of everything ready-made. Be afraid

to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.

Not even your future will be a mystery

any more. Your mind will be punched in a card

and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something

they will call you. When they want you

to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something

that won't compute. Love the Lord.

Love the world. Work for nothing.

Take all that you have and be poor.

Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace

the flag. Hope to live in that free

republic for which it stands.

Give your approval to all you cannot

understand. Praise ignorance, for what man

has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.

Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.

Say that your main crop is the forest

that you did not plant,

that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested

when they have rotted into the mold.

Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus

that will build under the trees

every thousand years.

Listen to carrion -- put your ear

close, and hear the faint chattering

of the songs that are to come.

Expect the end of the world. Laugh.

Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful

though you have considered all the facts.

So long as women do not go cheap

for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy

a woman satisfied to bear a child?

Will this disturb the sleep

of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.

Lie down in the shade. Rest your head

in her lap. Swear allegiance

to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos

can predict the motions of your mind,

lose it. Leave it as a sign

to mark the false trail, the way

you didn't go.

Be like the fox

who makes more tracks than necessary,

some in the wrong direction.

Practice resurrection.

"Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front" from The Country of Marriage, copyright � 1973 by Wendell Berry, reprinted by permission of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.

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The one and only Wendell.

One of these days, pretty soon, I'll have swing through Kentucky and say hi.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 11:28AM
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What a wonderfully defiant and timely poetic statement.
Thanks for posting.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 3:30PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

Marhsall, you scared me; I thought Wendell Berry had died when I saw the title of this thread.

Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed

I really like this phrase.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 3:58PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Berry cannot die yet. I have yet to personally thank him for fighting the good fight on behalf of small-holders and the communities that have defined for what America used to stand and to which many of us still aspire.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 4:06PM
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I thought the same thing Nancy. When put together with our marshalls post on the other side I sensed a melancholia episode. But this shows there is some fight in the old dog yet.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 5:49PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

woof woof!!! Is that Wendell barking?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 6:03PM
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I also thought Berry had died. Pleasant surprise. The ol' fox has been making some tracks in the wrong direction. :)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 7:39PM
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