Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Practice Pysanky, Practice Resurrection, Practice Revolution

~ Pysanky Eggs Designed by Susan Blubaugh ~
It has been an exciting week on Susan's page, Pysanky Spirit!

June 29: "In anticipation of July 4,
I'm digging out my red, white, and blue eggs!"

July 1: "A batik egg featuring red, white, and blue.
But I must say, "Happy Canada Day" to the Loyalists in the northland.
Wish I had a maple leaf egg to help celebrate, but I don't -- yet.
It sure doesn't seem to me that Canadians have suffered much
from their loyalty to England and King George III.
As a matter of fact, a peaceful separation from the motherland,
a parliamentary form of government, and a national health care system
are legacies that I find myself envying at times."

July 2: "Another in the line of the red, white, and blue countdown!"

Sue's Pysanky "countdown" to Independence Day and Bastille Day brought to mind the following inspiring poem by activist Wendell Berry. Sue says, "Wendell Berry is one of my favorite poets, a gentle prophet for our day."

Berry's "Manifesto" reminds us to "practice resurrection," an admonishment which somehow in my mind got turned around into "practice revolution." Well, maybe they're sort of the same thing after all. When my friend Nancy first sent me this poem a couple of years ago, I told her that I loved it so much it made me cry. I was striving to practice resurrection . . . the rebirth of my identity.

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
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.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to 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.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

by Wendell Berry
in New Collected Poems

Stars & Stripes Forever!

P.S. Further thoughts from Wendell Berry:

The going assumption seems to be that freedom can be granted only by an institution, that it is the gift of the government to its people. I think it is the other way around. Free men are not set free by their government; they have set their government free of themselves; they have made it unnecessary. Freedom is not accomplished by a declaration. A declaration of freedom is either a futile and empty gesture, or it is the statement of a finished fact. Freedom is a personal matter; though we may be enslaved as a group, we can be free only as persons. We can set each other free only as persons. It is a matter of discipline. A person can free himself of bondage that has been imposed on him only by accepting another bondage that he has chosen. A man who would not be the slave of other men must be the master of himself--that is the real meaning of self government. If we all behaved as honorably and honestly and industriously as we expect our representatives to behave, we would soon put the government out of work.

A person dependent on somebody else for everything from potatoes to opinions may declare that he is a free man, and his government may issue a certificate granting him his freedom, but he will not be free. He is that variety of specialist known as a consumer, which means that he is the abject dependent of producers. How can he be free if he can do nothing for himself? What is the First Amendment to him whose mouth is stuck to the tit of the “affluent society”? Men are free precisely to the extent that they are equal to their own needs. The most able are the most free.

Wendell Berry
From "Discipline and Hope" (1972)

P.P.S. A kinder, gentler revolution . . .
" . . . if I could change the world . . . "

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