What We Need Is Here

Wendell Berry


Image of the WeekHorseback on Sunday morning,
harvest over, we taste persimmon
and wild grape, sharp sweet
of summer's end. In time's maze
over fall fields, we name names
that rest on graves. We open
a persimmon seed to find the tree
that stands in promise,
pale, in the seed's marrow.
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.

The poem "Wild Geese", From Selected Poems of Wendell Berry.

Seed questions for reflection: How do you relate to the wisdom of "what we need is here?" Can you share a story of a time you came in touch with your truest reality through what was in front of you? How do you develop the eyes to see the deepest reality in front of you?

Add Your Reflection:

9 Previous Reflections:

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    On Jan 17, 2020 Carol A Tyx wrote:
    This is a lovely poem with a seemingly simple surface that takes us to a much deeper place. I love the question How do you develop the eyes to see the deepest reality in front of you? The practice of learning to pay attention--sounds easy but isn't.

    The poem as printed here as a few errors, words omitted. As a poet myself, I would urge the posters of this blog to take care to print texts as they have been written.

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    On Nov 24, 2019 Suzanne wrote:
    I have also seen this poem beginning with "Geese appear high over us.." I think I prefer it.

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    On Sep 22, 2019 Michael Burke wrote:
    I need help understanding the lines in Wendell Berry‘s poem the wild geese: “Geese appear high over us, pass, and the sky closes. Abandon, as in love or sleep,holds them to their way,clear, in the ancient faith:what we need is here. “
    It’s the use of the word abandon that puzzles me. Are the geese abandoning us? Or is abandon Used to express the fleetingness of reality and it all we have is the present moment?

    1 reply: Mike | Post Your Reply
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    On Mar 23, 2016 Jo wrote:

     I hear you ... I pray.

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    On Mar 20, 2016 david doane wrote:

    Past and future are imagination.  Only the present is alive.  Living and dying are happening right now, and what I need is here and now.  The challenge is to be present, be responsive here and now to myself, to those I am relating to, and to the world I'm in.  The only time I've come in touch with my truest reality is through being present to what was in me, in front of me, and around me, sharing and operating out of what I am experiencing.  When I've done that in relating to others, the experience is rich.  I develop the eyes to see the deepest reality by practicing being present.  Spending time with someone who is good at being in the present was of great help to me in developing the eyes to see deeper..

    1 reply: Me | Post Your Reply
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    On Mar 18, 2016 Abhishek wrote:

    Being clear in eye
    Ah! that is surely worth praying for
    Because I have eyes upon eyes upon eyes
    Lenses upon lenses
    Filters on filters...

    In fleeting moments
    I'm stripped of them
    By a sharp sweet wild grape
    And I glimpse raw reality
    Uncut by words
    Uncoloured by "me"

    Each time I tried
    To develop those eyes
    I loaded with more and more
    already-always "seeings"
    But in rest and surrender
    A rude shock of love comes
    Sweeps me off my feet...
    And tells me all I need is here

    1 reply: Michael | Post Your Reply

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