Either Wendell Berry and I share the same mother, or he just perfectly captured the power of forgiveness that many mothers exhibit. As I read this poem for the first time, I imagined myself as the speaker. Though not outwardly rebellious to my mother’s face, the boy I presented at home bore no likeness to the rapscallion I was at school. I am grieved to think of the ways I let her down when she came to realize how often I lied to her to save my own skin (which never worked, anyway). And yet her forgiveness was complete.
I lost my mom six years ago and now have only my mother-in-law (beyond my wife, of course) to cherish in this life. We went out last night for dinner at a local restaurant. Somehow we each managed to finish the Blackout BBQ Burgers (mom with more dismantling than me) and the heaping side of fries. Just like we savor those rich and special meals, may we take time to savor our mothers again today, not because it’s some greeting card holiday, but because it’s life to our souls.
To My Mother by Wendell Berry
I was your rebellious son, do you remember? Sometimes I wonder if you do remember, so complete has your forgiveness been. So complete has your forgiveness been I wonder sometimes if it did not precede my wrong, and I erred, safe found, within your love, prepared ahead of me, the way home, or my bed at night, so that almost I should forgive you, who perhaps foresaw the worst that I might do, and forgave before I could act, causing me to smile now, looking back, to see how paltry was my worst, compared to your forgiveness of it already given. And this, then, is the vision of that Heaven of which we have heard, where those who love each other have forgiven each other, where, for that, the leaves are green, the light a music in the air, and all is unentangled, and all is undismayed.
From Wendell Berry’s Entries. Pantheon Books, © 1994.
2 thoughts on “For Mother’s Day: A Poem by Wendell Berry #Poem #Poetry #Mother #Mom #Forgiveness #WendellBerry”
Wow! This is a powerful poem. I have a rebellious streak in my past too… but that has all fallen away and all is forgiven.
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Amen. Me too. My world was shaken up in high school when my grandfather died. That was the beginning of my journey to Christ.
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