Prescriptions for the Quiet

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Last night, I pulled a book off the shelf to read to my youngest two boys before bed, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce. I came across the book years ago, and I have always appreciated both the art and the message. Tonight, I showed my children the Oscar award winning short film (2012) directed by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg. Emily Rome of the Los Angeles Times said it best: the book is an “allegory about the curative powers of story.” The Huffington Post added, the real-life Hurricane Katrina which devastated New Orleans in 2005 also served as an inspiration for the story. Without saying much more, the film shows how one can say so much without words (which is ironic considering the film and book are each about the power of stories and sharing them). Take time to deepen here.

The Poetry of Wendell Berry

In searching for another quote from my favorite American poem, Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front, I came across these three gems, perfect for such a time as this. In this forced time of staying home and social distancing, don’t miss the fertile soil of silence offered by this time. Unplug from the screens, the constant cacophony of the media and the fear of the unknown, and deepen. Be sure to click on the hyperlinked title “Stay Home” to hear Wendell Berry read his work!

How to Be a Poet

By Wendell Berry
(to remind myself)

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill — more of each
than you have — inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.

Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

Stay Home

By Wendell Berry

I will wait here in the fields
to see how well the rain
brings on the grass.
In the labor of the fields
longer than a man’s life
I am at home. Don’t come with me.
You stay home too.

I will be standing in the woods
where the old trees
move only with the wind
and then with gravity.
In the stillness of the trees
I am at home. Don’t come with me.
You stay home too.

The Peace of Wild Things – Wendell Berry

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