Before Dark

Wendell Berry

From the porch at dusk I watched

a kingfisher wild in flight

he could only have made for joy.

He came down the river, splashing

against the water’s dimming face

like a skipped rock, passing

on down out of sight. And still

I could hear the splashes

farther and farther away

as it grew darker. He came back

the same way,

dusky as his shadow,

sudden beyond the willows.

The splashes went on out of hearing.

It was dark then. Somewhere

the night had accommodated him

—at the place he was headed for

or where, led by his delight,

he came.
“Before Dark” by Wendell Berry, from New Collected Poems. © Counterpoint Press, 2012. Reprinted with permission.

do unto others…



It’s the 86th birthday of environmental writer Wendell Berry,

born in Port Royal, Kentucky (1934).


Berry publishes poetry, essays, and novels, most of which reflect his concern for the natural world and the ways we interact with it.

Berry continues to live and work on his farm in his hometown.

Berry said, “Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.”

He said, “You can best serve civilization by being against what usually passes for it.”

And he said,

“Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.”

Botticelli’s Venus


The Venus of Botticelli

by Wendell Berry


I knew her when I saw her

in the vision of Botticelli, riding

shoreward out of the waves,

and afterward she was in my mind

as she had been before, but changed,

so that if I saw her here, near

nightfall, striding off the gleam

of the Kentucky River as it darkened

behind her, the willows touching

her with little touches laid

on breast and arm and thigh, I

would rise as after a thousand

years, as out of the dark grave,

alight, shaken, to remember her.

“The Venus of Botticelli” by Wendell Berry

from New Collected Poems. Counterpoint © 2012.

Reprinted with permission.

Accept What Comes From Silence



the vast

diminish you;

the silence

ruffle your feathers;


sculpt its tribute

on your face.

Accept what comes from silence.

Make the best you can of it.

Of the little words that come

out of the silence, like prayers

prayed back the one who prays,

make a poem that does not disturb

the silence from which it came.
   Wendell Berry

in “How to Be a Poet”

               final stanza added on in New Collected Poems

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