Sunday, February 24, 2013

"No Going Back" (Wendell Berry)

"No Going Back"
(Wendell Berry)

No, no, there is no going back.
Less and less you are
that possibility you were.
More and more you have become
those lives and deaths
that have belonged to you.
You have become a sort of grave
containing much that was
and is no more in time, beloved
then, now, and always.
And so you have become a sort of tree
standing over a grave.
Now more than ever you can be
generous toward each day
that comes, young, to disappear
forever, and yet remain
unaging in the mind.
Every day you have less reason
not to give yourself away.

"No Going Back" by  Wendell Berry appears in his Collected Poems, a new expanded edition of which was published in 2012. In a 1993 interview with Jordan Fisher-Smith, Mr. Berry commented "Well, I think that I would give the same advice as Gary Snyder. Stop somewhere! Because you can't recover what's lost. There's no going back to get it. You just have to start again, and I think what people have to experience--have to let themselves experience--is the knowledge and understanding and even happiness that come with long association with people and places and kinds of work."

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