Mad Farmer Liberation Front
Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
everything ready-made. Be afraid
your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
Your mind will be punched in a card
away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
call you. When they want you
for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
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
Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
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
did not plant,
will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
build under the trees
Listen to carrion — put your ear
hear the faint chattering
songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head
lap. Swear allegiance
is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
predict the motions of your mind,
Leave it as a sign
the false trail, the way
didn’t go. Be like the fox
more tracks than necessary,
the wrong direction.
The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” from The Country of Marriage, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.
1973. Also published by Counterpoint
Press in The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, 1999; The Mad Farmer
Poems, 2008; New Collected Poems, 2012.