Why I Go For Walks: A Found Poem


Courtesy of Wendell Berry's essay, "The Work of Local Culture".

For years I have walked
Down an old fencerow
That borders what remains
Of an old farm.
The fields, once plowed and seeded each spring,
Are returning, once again, to forest.
On an old fence post,
That leans hard over in the shadow
Of a mid-grown sycamore,
Hangs a battered galvanized bucket.
Each day when I pass it
I stop to look into its depths.
How many autumns it has hung there
I do not know, but over the years
Leaves have fallen into it,
Rain and snow have too.
The leaves have held the moisture,
And in doing so have rotted.
Nuts, too, have fallen into it,
Or were brought there by squirrels,
Which ate the meat and left the shells;
They and other animals have left their droppings;
Insects have entered it died and decayed;
Birds have scratched in it
Left their droppings,
Maybe a feather or two.
This slow work of death and decay,
The chief work of the world,
Has produced in the bottom of this bucket
Several inches of loam, rich soil.
Maybe because I am a farmer,
I am drawn by an easy wonder
to witness this miracle every day.
To a townsman’s eye, this is only filth,
If it is seen at all.
To me it is, for all of its simplicity,
The Book of Genesis redux.




Dan Doyle. "Why I Go For Walks: A Found Poem." CERC.

Courtesy of Wendell Berry's essay, "The Work of Local Culture".

Reprinted with permission of Dan Doyle.


Dan Doyle has taught for 30 years at the high school and university level. He is currently in his 20th year at Seattle University in Seattle, WA. He is an Assistant Professor in the Matteo Ricci College of Seattle University and teaches several Humanities based courses including: The Greek, Roman and Medieval periods, Character Development and a Capstone course called, Unforgettable Books. He has been writing and publishing poems for most of his career. Dan Doyle is on the Executive Board of CERC USA.

Copyright © 2011 Dan Doyle

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