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LOOK IT OVER by Wendell Berry 















Received a letter from Dad today,
poetry enclosed, as is his habit:

"Here's a poem by the Kentucky farmer Wendell Berry.
It may be almost the perfect poem for me,
so I wanted y'all to read it too..."


LOOK IT OVER


I leave behind even
my walking stick. My knife
is in my pocket, but that
I have forgot. I bring
no car, no cell phone,
no computer, no camera,
no CD player, no fax, no
TV, not even a book. I go
into the woods. I sit down on
a log provided at no cost.
It is the earth I've come to,
the earth itself, sadly
abused by the stupidity
only humans are capable of
but, as ever, itself. Free.
A bargain! Get it while it lasts!

SAGUARO by Brenda Hillman 
















Often visitors there, saddened  
by lack of trees, go out  
to a promontory.

Then, backed by the banded  
sunset, the trail  
of the Conquistadores,

the father puts on the camera,  
the leather albatross,  
and has the children

imitate saguaros. One
at a time they stand there smiling,  
fingers up like the tines of a fork

while the stately saguaro  
goes on being entered
by wrens, diseases, and sunlight.

The mother sits on a rock,  
arms folded
across her breasts. To her

the cactus looks scared,  
its needles
like hair in cartoons.

With its arms in preacher  
or waltz position,  
it gives the impression

of great effort
in every direction,  
like the mother.

Thousands of these gray-green  
cacti cross the valley:  
nature repeating itself,

children repeating nature,  
father repeating children  
and mother watching.

Later, the children think  
the cactus was moral,
had something to teach them,

some survival technique  
or just regular beauty.
But what else could it do?

The only protection  
against death
was to love solitude.

YOU DON'T KNOW ME by Cindy Walker 



You give your hand to me
And then you say "hello"
And I can hardly speak
My heart is beating so
And anyone can tell
You think you know me well
But you don't know me

No, you don't know the one
Who dreams of you at night
And longs to kiss your lips
And longs to hold you tight
To you I'm just a friend
That's all I've ever been
'Cause you don't know me

For I never knew the art of making love
Though my heart aches with love for you
Afraid and shy, I let my chance go by
A chance that you might love me too

You give your hand to me
And then you say "goodbye"
I watch you walk away
Beside the lucky guy
No, you'll never ever know
The one who loved you so
Well, you don't know me

For I never knew the art of making love
Though my heart aches with love for you
Afraid and shy, I let my chance go by
A chance that you might love me too

You give your hand to me
And then you say "goodbye"
I watch you walk away
Beside the lucky guy
Oh, you'll never, ever know
The one who loved you so
Well, you don't know me

BETWEEN THE SHADOW AND THE SOUL by Pablo Neruda 



I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep
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