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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Wendell Berry Poem

Air Date: Week of July 16, 1999

Writer Wendell Berry reads his short poem, The Wild, about finding nature even in the most urban setting.

Transcript

CURWOOD: Many people think of New York City as a mass of concrete and steel, with few places beyond the parks where nature can flourish. Writer Wendell Berry found one such place. It was back in the 1960s in a vacant lot in the Bronx. And it became the subject for one of his short poems called "The Wild."

BERRY: In the empty lot,
A place not natural but wild,
Among the trash of human absence,
The slough and shamble of the city's seasons,
A few old locusts bloom.
A few woods birds fly and sing in the new foliage.
Warblers and tanagers. Birds wild as leaves.
In a million each one would be rare, new to the eyes.
A man couldn't make a habit of such color, such flight and singing.
But they are the habit of this wasted place.
In them, the ground is wise.
They are its remembrance of what it is.

(Music up and under)

CURWOOD: Wendell Berry's poems are an occasional feature of Living on Earth. Coming up, we'll meet you at the intersection of Madison Avenue and nature. Keep listening to Living on Earth.

 

 

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