A Small Porch: Sabbath Poems 2014-2015, by Wendell Berry

September 6, 2016

Wendell Berry continues to spend Sunday mornings in the Kentucky woods, and his readers will be rewarded. At age 82, he notes that “life does not relent or become easier as death approaches.” He asks, “How then may you come yet alive to right-mindedness and right prayer?” Although grief and “nightmares of the age” interrupt his sleep, he is eased by nature’s “numinous and exalted” presence. Each day is precious to Berry, and in poem XII he explains his refusal to be filmed working on his land. He needs these workdays, he says, “to be his last, his own.” The book’s closing essay contemplates authors who have influenced Berry through the years, including Alan of Lille, Chaucer, Milton, and Wordsworth.