Wendell Berry, Cormac McCarthy, & Other Artistic Things

So… it’s been a while since I have posted anything on here. I have mostly been busy working, but I have been tangled up in other side projects as well. Even though I haven’t said much lately, I still don’t have a lot to say other than what I’ve been “into”. I thought I would share a few artistic endeavors of mine that might pique your own interest.

1> A Valentine’s Day Poem from Wendell Berry – Those who read Wendell’s stuff, know him to be a tough man, a farmer, a worker – and his writings and poetry reflect his work. Certainly, it even requires a willing heart and working mind to read Wendell fruitfully. But I have also thought of Wendell as quite the romantic. He doesn’t have a pious romanticism to his poetry. Like everything else it is common and simple, devoid of empty flattery. But true. And truth requires thought and confession and risk. Here is an exceprt from the poem “The Country of Marriage” in the collection of poems by the same title.

“Our bond is no little economy based on the exchange
of my love and work for yours, so much for so much
of an expendable fund. We don’t know what the limits are –
that puts it in the dark. We are more together
than we know, how else could we keep on discovering
we are more together than we thought?
You are the known way leading always to the unknown,
and you are the known place to which the unknown is always
leading me back. More blessed in you that I know,
I possess nothing worthy to give you, nothing
not belittled by my saying that I possess it.
Even an hour of love is a moral predicament, a blessing
a man may be hard up to be worthy of. He can only
accept it, as a plant accepts from all the bounty of the light
enough to live, and then accepts the dark,
passing unencumbered back to the earth, as I
have fallen time and again from the great strength
of my desire, helpless, into your arms.”

2> Cormac McCarthy – I have discovered a new author that is an incredible mind. Cormac McCarthy. I love true-blooded Western literature and movies. Cormac McCarthy, for me, is the new king of Western literature. All the Pretty Horses is the first in what came to be a Trilogy known as “the Border Trilogy”. McCarthy paints a vivid and painfully realistic picture of the Western mind, the cowboy. Unlike most Western authors, McCarthy has no use for romanticizing violence. Instead, he begs questions of it’s dark force, of greed, lust, and power. The story is set in the mid-Twentieth Century, and is about men who make the mistake of romanticizing the ideals of the old-timers and cowboys and Western hopes. They are confronted by the realities of violence it death it agitates. Unlike most Westerns there is little or no resolve, little or no redemption. This is an incredible book. One of, if not THE, difinitive Western on my book shelf. I fully intend on finishing the Triology and what some consider a 4th addition “No Country for Old Men” that begs the question (in 1980) “Are things getting worse? Or have they always been this way?”

3> I have been listening to some great music lately and have found these albums especially moving. If you are interested in some great music try out these albums (Some classics and some newer stuff): Ryan Adams – “Heartbreaker” // Wilco – “A.M.” // “Wilco – “Being There” // Dan Auerbach “Keep It Hid” // Wilco & Billy Bragg – Mermaid Avenue // Broken Bells – “Broken Bells” // Avett Bros. – “I & Love & You”

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