Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy Easter! 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 millenium. 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.

I remember well when I first heard this - in the Great Hall at Dartington in 1986, read by Wendell Berry its poet author. I remain haunted by its last line 'Practice resurrection' and what it may mean.  

My answer is informed by Stanley Spencer...


His Resurrection at Cookham has at its heart particular people rediscovering their essential relationships and discovering forgiveness. 

Forgiveness is at the heart of things. I am reading at the moment Orlando Figes powerful and heart rending "The Whisperers: Private Life in Salin's Russia". There is a episode when a 'kulak' family is being expelled from their village. Every one is assembled and the cart is waiting.The 'kulak' mother approaches it crossing herself and turns and bows to the assembled onlookers and asks forgiveness from anyone present in case she has failed them. They are too frightened to offer any response. She has humbly asserted that she belongs only to the truth. She steps into the cart and is gone.

We are invited to that life that fearlessly embraces the opportunity to be ourselves - broken in sin, remade in the vision of our resurrection. Spencer's figures, uniquely ourselves and safely encompassed in love being transformed.

How might the world look if we practiced that resurrection? Forgiven and forgiving, and unafraid.

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