The Mad Agriculture Journal

Published on

November 01, 2019

Written by

Philip Taylor

Photos by

Jordan Perkins

Lee esto en español.

Written for Wendell Berry 

On the Sabbath I go

a hootin’ and a howlin’

into the woods

shouting ‘Hallelujah’

for I am in the midst of God

who speaks to me

as He did with Moses

for the forest burns with mystery,

which is at the heart of everything,

My altar the moss bed,

Where I sit to wait,

Not for something to come,

But for myself to arrive.

My chalice, the tightly furled leaf of the bloodroot,

its juice is my communion.

I sit among the mayapples and bracken.

Watching the woods awake.

For in stillness the world unfolds.

The congregation of salamanders, 

hickories, swallowtails moves.

What seemed empty is full.

Like me, the wood pewee returns again and again to its place

And always finds nourishment there.

I believe in the subnatural. The place of miracles.

I am content to die amongst the weeds,

In the feral nightshades at the edge of the field,

the boundary of domesticity and wildness.

I confess I am in love with soil. What it gives.

What is takes.

In town, their religion reduces uncertainty,

with answers for everything,

and I wonder, what has happened to faith?

I worship

in the woods, in the graveyard

in the prairie, in the fields,

wherever roots drive deep

lifting the elements of the earth to the sky

bringing sunlight to the darkness

and replenishing it.

They say my mornings are wasted.

That time is money.

But, time is a circle!

Not to measure my good work against.

I revel in inefficiency, as most efficiencies

efficiently destroy what they do not consider.

The fear of death does not guide me.

(It does not demand crazy futures).

For in this forest I will be born again

and again

and again.

My benediction, the voice of God

lodged within the breast of a wood thrush,

which sings the sun up to break the horizon. 

I did not always come to the forest,

It took time to find the answers to the big questions:

Why am I here?

Where am I going?

When the answer has been beneath my nose,

In the dirt beneath my feet.

It is the only thing I am sure of.

I will die into the place I was born.

Be fruitful and multiply, replenish the Earth.

It gives comfort that someday I will nourish this ground.

Originally published in
Mad Agriculture Journal Issue 2


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