By Blaney Pridgen

All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views  and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser. 

We are living in times when we need poetry as much as we need medicine and political policy.  I have been digesting a poem by Wendall Berry, Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front.  Berry is a poet, novelist, and essayist but also an environmentalist and farmer.  We need to listen to our poets more than our politicians, but I have absolutely no hope of that!  So, listen to him:

             Denounce the government and embrace the flag.  Hope to live

             in that free republic for which it stands.  Give your approval

              to all you cannot understand.  Praise ignorance, for what man

              has not encountered he has not destroyed.  Ask the questions 

              that have no answers.

In the end, those questions are only ones that matter.  Answers are the illusions of our private property which someone else will own after we die and someone after them until the end of us all when the earth will reclaim everything we stole from her.  That is Mother Earth and her cockroaches.  

          The poet continues:

         Put your faith in the two inches of humus that will build under 

          the trees every thousand years.  Listen to the carrion—put your 

          ear close and hear the faint chattering of the songs that are to come.

         Expect the end of the world. Laugh.  Laughter is immeasurable.

         Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.

This might come easier if we spend less time in front of screens unless it is the screen of the front porch on a cool rainy evening.

When events of our days seem so miserable, remember to live in the present. It is really all we ever have. Stay as sober as you can.  Reality is even scarier when we try to escape it. Today, try to have at least one good time and do one good thing.  Call someone and share a joke.  Don’t worry if you have already told it.  Tell it again with embellishments and better timing.  Friends and loved ones will always listen, if they are truly friends and loved ones.  They won’t stop you and they will laugh with you again.

Finally, don’t listen long to the voices of guilt and shame.  No one has enough time for that.  Just walk away and laugh as you go.

*Poem quoted from Good Poems, and anthology by Garrison Keillor