DaNcInG WoRdS….Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Yesterday my lovely friend Chants directed me over to this beautiful blog post by Sarah Bessey: 


She talks about taking care of the soul.  In me I recognise, that soul shrinking, and how often a poem has caused my soul to swell.  For those of you who might also be in need of some words to help you come alive, this new little feature is born,  Someone once said that poetry is to prose, what dancing is to walking. Enjoy the dance!

For the first in this little series, I thought I would share one of my absolute favorite poems, by Wendell Berry, a brilliant farmer/conservationist, writer/teacher.  As you will recognise, this poem was the inspiration for our little blog title, may the words, move, inspire, challenge and comfort you in the way they have me:

The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

by Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.




Filed under Dancing words, Sarah

2 responses to “DaNcInG WoRdS….Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

  1. Billiejean

    Isn’t Sarah Bessey a treasure? I also would recommend Ann Voskamp, author of A Thousand Blessings. Her words jump off the computer screen and tuck deep into my heart. You can find her blog here:


  2. Pingback: Friday Finds: All things Foxy | Lifestyle, Craft, Music and DIY

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