What I’m Reading: Remembering

I just started reading Wendell Berry’s book Remembering. Remembering is about a farmer who loses his right hand in an accident and the resulting trouble that happens within his own heart and to those who suffer around him as a result. It’s a relatively short book at around 120 pages, but I am finding that I am reading sentences a little slower, for there is a depth to this narrative. Thus far, I am impressed with how Berry writes the main character. I find myself sympathetic to the plight of this man and all of the emotions he feels, but it also very hard to see him hurting his family, friends, and maybe most especially himself.

I’ll give you a few sentences from the early chapters of the book:

  • “It is dark. He does not know where he is. And then he sees pale light from the street soaking in above the drawn drapes. It is not light to see by, but only makes the darkness visible.”
  • “He continued by the help of time alone. He went on, not because he would not have stopped, but because nothing else would stop.”
  • “And he could be anybody in the world awake at night, looking out. ‘How much longer?’ he thinks. ‘When shall I arise, and the night be gone?'”

Here is a poem that I love, written by Berry, that appears after the title page:

Heavenly Muse, Spirit who brooded on
The world and raised it shapely out of nothing
Touch my lips with fire and burn away
All dross of speech, so that I keep in mind
The truth and end to which my words now move
In hope. Keep my mind within that Mind
Of which it is a part, whose wholeness is
The hope of sense in what I tell. And though
I go among the scatterings of sense,
The members of its worldly body broken,
Rule my sight by vision of the parts
Rejoined. And in my exile’s journey far
From home, be with me, so I may return.

Read more about Wendall Berry here.

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