POETRY FORMAT, 13 Mar 2017

Wendell Berry – TRANSCEND Media Service

How much poison are you willing
to eat for the success of the free
market and global trade? Please
name your preferred poisons.

For the sake of goodness, how much
evil are you willing to do?
Fill in the following blanks
with the names of your favorite
evils and acts of hatred.

What sacrifices are you prepared
to make for culture and civilization?
Please list the monuments, shrines,
and works of art you would
most willingly destroy

In the name of patriotism and
the flag, how much of our beloved
land are you willing to desecrate?
List in the following spaces
the mountains, rivers, towns, farms
you could most readily do without.

State briefly the ideas, ideals, or hopes,
the energy sources, the kinds of security;
for which you would kill a child.
Name, please, the children whom
you would be willing to kill.


From Leavings, © Counterpoint, 2010

Wendell E. Berry is an American novelist, poet, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer. A prolific author, he has written many novels, short stories, poems, and essays. Wikipedia


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2 Responses to “Questionnaire”

  1. Kathleen kugelman says:

    evidently we are willing to put up with anything that does not upset the status quo…look at the world as it is and try not to give in to despair…..whatever time our species has left celebrate your time with joy…..much better than the grief stages….

  2. Gary Corseri says:

    Fine comment by Kathleen Kugelman, and another fine poem by Wendell Berry.

    I’ve been reading Berry for many years, and I do believe he is among our most important contemporary poets: he has been a political and environmental activist. He lives what he “preaches”: farming organically and conserving; fostering growth with health and awareness. His poems can be deceptively simple; like this one, they can be hard-hitting and make one think.