Friday, July 5, 2013

On the Porch


Wendell Berry remains one of my favorite writers. He writes so beautifully and so poignantly of our shared human experience.


"They Sit Together on the Porch"

They sit together on the porch, the dark
Almost fallen, the house behind them dark.
Their supper done with, they have washed and dried
The dishes – only two plates now, two glasses,
Two knives, two forks, two spoons – small work for two.
She sits with her hands folded in her lap,
At rest. He smokes his pipe. They do not speak,
And when they speak at last it is to say
What each one knows the other knows. They have
One mind between them, now, that finally
For all its knowing will not exactly know
Which one goes first through the dark doorway, bidding
Goodnight, and which sits on a while alone.

~ Wendell Berry




The photograph is mine. It's the back porch at my farmhouse in Ansel where I spent the '90's.

36 comments:

  1. Such an evocative poem that matches my mood today and could easily be Tom and I, on the deck or in the arbor.

    I love the picture, Teresa. A porch that would hold me comfortably.

    This is a beautiful post.

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    1. Penny, I thought of you and Tom as I posted this ... others whose marriages have endured and thrived... such a lovely thing...

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  2. When my time comes, I hope those I leave behind say, "He has gone through the dark doorway."

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    1. That's a nice thought... I shall probably always wonder what is beyond "that dark doorway..." We shall see...

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  3. Dear Teresa, thank you for sharing Berry's poem. The woman who was my soulmate, if I've had one, died back in 1998 from cancer. But beginning in college and then in the convent, she and I shared a friendship that was becoming I think what is reflected in this poem. Peace.

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    1. Dee, I am so sorry for your loss. These are hard transitions to make in life. And 1998 is not so long ago in the face of such loss... I'm glad you shared that and trust you've found a measure of peace.

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  4. Such a beautiful poem. He is one of my favourite poets too.
    I love the porch, I have a tiny one on the front of my cottage, room for one seat!

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    1. Cait, Those little porches are so nice, so many memories created there...

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  5. I am undecided about whether I'd prefer the one to be gone, or the one remaining. Lovely post.

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    1. I don't think I could decide, either. I suppose it's good that life seems to decide it for us. Thank you. I trust life post-Kenya is settling in for you...

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  6. What a perfect little nook to sit and read.

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    1. It was such a nice place and night times there were especially memorable. So many stars...

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  7. A wonderful poem. We only wash two plates now. And, on most things, there is only one mind between us.

    Wendell Berry is a master at arranging words. His art is especially beautiful in his poetry. Thanks for sharing this.

    I'm sure you also love (as I do) "A Country of Marriage" and "The Wild Rose."

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    1. I'm not sure if you've read my previous post on acquiring a signed book of poetry by Mr. Berry at a bookstore in Moab, UT. It's one of those little treasures I love. I wish I had been present at the signing...

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  8. We always seem to have that one special place, don't we. How nice if we can share.

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    1. Yes, sharing makes almost everything better...

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    1. It certainly can be, Will... Hopefully, not today... :)

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  10. A nice poem, pregnant with great reflection. That moment in the space, I believe carries the heavenly aura of wonderful sentiment. In such a short space, Wendell wrought his ingenuity poignantly. And, I really love the black and white picture. I feel as if through the glass, I am staring at the SWEETEST MOMENT itself. Great piece.

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    1. Ah, yes, the sweetest moment... Thank you so much for always leaving such thoughtful comments.

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  11. A nearly perfect writer, Wendell Berry, so concise, so elegant, so right. Wonderful post, this is.

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    1. I'm so glad you like it, Bill. I thought you might...

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  12. This is so poignant, and with that picture, it's simply perfection. I know this feeling, I have it now and then with my own partner. We don't have to speak to know what the other one is thinking. But there is the other side, too...

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    1. And sometimes, people we love walk through that door way too early... thinking of you, with affection.

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  13. There's a connection, somehow, between Berry's poetry, the living of life into its end, and the sweet, solemn sound of the Dobro. These words evoke much the same feeling to these words as to the Dobro's sound - at least for me.

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    1. I loved your story about country dances and the dobro. I wrote a micropoem some time back about those dances and am thinking I just might post it... The dobro and the mandolin both have such a poignant sound, don't they?

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  14. That is a memorable poem - and that is a perfect image to go with it.

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    1. Thank you very much, Alan. It's good to see you again.

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  15. The poem and the photo complement one another. Are you not living in Ansel anymore?

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    1. This is the farmhouse where I spent the decade of the '90's. I now live about twenty miles from it, in another country place, but no farmhouse, which I miss...

      Thank you, Kate.

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  16. I love this image Teresa! Lovely!
    I hope you are having a wonderful July!
    xo Catherine

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    1. Hot right now, but good, and I wish the same for you, sweet girl....

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  17. Hej Teresa, it is a very beautiful poem. And I remember my uncle and aunt, who were so fond of each other all through their marriage, always holding hands. It is so rare to see. But when you see it then it is like this poem.
    Grethe ´)

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    1. That old love that's stood the test of time is so sweet... Thank you, Grethe.

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  18. First Of All...What A Great Photo !
    That Poems is So Good.Maybe It Should Be Shown To All Those People Who Seem To Think That just Talking is,in itself,somehow Cathartic....Life Enhancing & Will Solve All Problems.
    Maybe ,sometimes ,Silence & Trust are the true healing powers of Love.

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    1. Hey, tony, thanks! I couldn't agree more ... "silence and trust are the true healing powers of love." People forget this oh so important aspect of life and relationships. Wonderful insight.

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