Wendell Berry, born in 1934, could be considered the American poet of the early 21st century. Even though his first collection of poems were published in 1964, you may consider his themes of imaginative literature, poetry and social criticism to be “current.” Before Gen X’ers, Hipsters, or even Millennials, Berry presented a way of life and world view that America is struggling to preserve in today’s age of technology and information. This world view can be summarized in one word, “rootedness.” Today, people are
connected in more unique ways that affect all aspect of our lives. Consider that work is no longer 8 to 5, friends do not have to live on the same block, and education can take place virtually. Yet, Wendell Berry, along with “life” in cyberspace, echo the same theme of needing to being connected or reconnected. One may ponder whether Berry is a prophet, or a man with strong foresight. While not claiming either, he is clearly in touch with reality, which seems to be slipping through the fingers of the youth of today.
Consider poem “V” from Berry’s collection of the sabbath poems, those that he writes on Sundays. This particular collection was published as A Small Porch: Sabbath Poems 2014 and 2015. You probably have read this poem as posted above, but I ask you to read it again, slowly and thoughtfully.
The believe they’ve understood
belief in “the transcendent”
by disbelieving it.
Some mental feats remain
impossible even to the best
of human minds.
Often it is said to me that the belief in God limits man, rather than man becoming limitless when one has faith in God. A man’s reason is limited by his own mental capacity to reason. Belief in God frees man from corporal restraints. I propose that to be rooted, means to know and see reality, which can only happen to the fullest extent when man is in touch with the transcendent, not confined to his or another’s reason.