Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HOW TO BE A POET (TO REMIND MYSELF), by WENDELL BERRY

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

HOW TO BE A POET (TO REMIND MYSELF), by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Make a place to sit down
Last Line: The silence from which it came
Subject(s): Poetry & Poets


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.

Copyright 2001 by The Modern Poetry Association.
This poem appears in January 2001 issue of Poetry Magazine.

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