Georgia O'Keeffe. Oriental Poppies (1928), Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis
The politics of illusion, of death's money,
possesses us. This is the Hell, this
the nightmare into which Christ descended
from the cross, from which also he woke
and rose, striding godly forth, so free
that He appeared to Mary Magdalene
to be only the gardener walking about
in the new day, among the flowers.
They are fighting again the war to end war,
and the ewe flock, bred in October, brings forth
in March. This so far remains, this pain
and renewal, whatever war is being fought.
We go through the annual passage of birth
and death, triumph and heartbreak, love
and exasperation, mud, milk, mucus, and blood.
Yet once more the young ewe stands with her lambs
in the dawn light, the lambs well-suckled
and dry. There is no happiness like this.
The window again welcomes in the light
of lengthening days. The river in its old groove
passes again beneath opening leaves.
In their brevity, between cold and shade,
flowers again brighten the woods floor.
This then may be the prayer without ceasing,
this beauty and gratitude, this moment.
from: "Sabbath Poems 1998-2004," in Wendell Berry, Given: new poems. (Berkeley: Counterpoint, 2005).