taming the Ox

and i am the anvil

and i am the air

and i am the stillness

when nothing more is possible
we submit

to trust


From The Sabbath Poems

1979:  I

I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
Around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
Where I left them, asleep like cattle.

Then what is afraid of me comes
And lives a while in my sight.
What it fears in me leaves me,
And the fear of me leaves it.
It sings, and I hear its song.

Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
And the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear its song.

After days of labor,
Mute in my consternations,
I hear my song at last,
And I sing it. As we sing,
the day turns, the trees move.

From the book A Timbered Choir, by Wendell Berry.
New York: Counterpoint. 1998

Thank you for practicing,


8 thoughts on “surrender

  1. Pingback: Tricycle » Taming the Ox

  2. Thank you!

    Joseph, it almost feels like this is where the journey really takes off – and ends… Being human, however, it doesn’t… 😀

    This was a tough one to compose a poem. Had to dig deep and roll around with the Ox for a few days before I felt what “taming” was all about. And the Wendell Berry poem is one of my favourites. Recite it as a meditation in some of our days-of-mindfulness.

  3. Pingback: Inspiring for Personal Recovery. Interesting, Short Sobriety Slogan

  4. I love the movement in this brush work piece. I feel the leaning into it. “when nothing more is possible we submit to trust” How true! It seems I really need to be pushed up against the wall to get this one.

    And the Wendell Berry poem is wonderful. “What it fears in me, leaves me.” I love this line.

    • It is a profound insight, isn’t it… that there may be aspects in me that stir fear in the other. I still don’t get it… apparently that’s what gets me in the trouble I get in… 😦

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