Wendell Berry is a conservationist, farmer, essayist, novelist, professor of English and poet. He was born August 5, 1934 in Henry County, Kentucky where he now lives on a farm. The New York Times has called Berry the "prophet of rural America."
Let this list of 52 quotations by the American poet Wendell Berry lead you to an inspirational day. Recharge yourself with motivational people, life, world sayings, and satisfy your hunger for a better life.
What are the best Wendell Berry quotes?
We've made this hand-picked collection of quotes to show you what is Wendell Berry truly willing to say and leave for generations. Whether an inspirational quote or a motivational message about giving your best, we can all benefit from the wisdom, captured within these words.
It is not from ourselves that we learn to be better than we are.
The past is our definition. We may strive with good reason to escape it, or to escape what is bad in it. But we will escape it only by adding something better to it.
Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand;
it is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy.
Whether we or our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.
I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief... For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
I think the issues of identity mostly are poppycock.
We are what we have done, which includes our promises, includes our hopes, but promises first.
I am not bound for any public place, but for ground of my own where I have planted vines and orchard trees, and in the heat of the day climbed up into the healing shadow of the woods.
All right, every day ain't going to be the best day of your life, don't worry about that. If you stick to it you hold the possibility open that you will have better days.
To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.
You have to be able to imagine lives that are not yours.
As industrial technology advances and enlarges, and in the process assumes greater social, economic, and political force, it carries people away from where they belong by history, culture, deeds, association and affection.
For any sin, we all suffer. That is why our suffering is endless.
But people who know themselves know that, at some point, justice had better be mitigated by mercy. And you don't get to mercy by a legal principle. You get to mercy by way of imagination, sympathy, tenderness of heart - which are not weaknesses.
When I rise up, let me rise up joyful like a bird.
When I fall, let me fall without regret like a leaf.
The fertility cycle is a cycle entirely of living creatures passing again and again through birth, growth, maturity, death, and decay.
I prayed like a man walking in a forest at night, feeling his way with his hands, at each step fearing to fall into pure bottomlessness forever. Prayer is like lying awake at night, afraid, with your head under the cover, hearing only the beating of your own heart.
Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.
You cannot devalue the body and value the soul Or value anything else.
There are no sacred and unsacred places;
there are only sacred and desecrated places. My belief is that the world and our life in it are conditional gifts.
Why should conservationists have a positive interest in.
.. farming? There are lots of reasons, but the plainest is: Conservationists eat.
Akin to the idea that time is money is the concept, less spoken but as commonly assumed, that we may be adequately represented by money. The giving of money has thus become our characteristic virtue. But to give is not to do. The money is given in lieu of action, thought, care, time.
The only time I've been arrested was in opposing the Marble Hill nuclear power plant in Indiana. That was in 1979.
If the crop of any one year was all, a man would have to cut his throat every time it hailed.
We cannot comprehend what comprehends us.
The old and honorable idea of 'vocation' is simply that we each are called, by God, or by our gifts, or by our preference, to a kind of good work for which we are particularly fitted.
Eaters must understand that eating takes place inescapably in the world, that it is inescapably an agricultural act, and that how we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is used.
The change of mind I am talking about involves not just a change of knowledge, but also a change of attitude toward our essential ignorance, a change in our bearing in the face of mystery. The principle of ecology, if we will take it to heart, should keep us aware that our lives depend on other lives and upon processes and energies in an interlocking system that, though we can destroy it, we can neither fully understand nor fully control. And our great dangerousness is that, locked in our selfish and myopic economies, we have been willing to change or destroy far beyond our power to understand.
The primary motive for good care and good use of the land-community is always going to be affection, which is too often lacking.
I'm a writer more than I am a talker.
An economy genuinely local and neighborly offers to localities a measure of security that they cannot derive from a national or a global economy controlled by people who, by principle, have no local commitment.
To go in the dark with a light is to know the light. To know the dark, go dark.
I like the way that the history of the tree shapes the tree.
There's no distinction between the tree and its history. You can lose yourself in that thought.
When you are new at sheep-raising and your ewe has a lamb, your impulse is to stay there and help it nurse and see to it and all. After a while, you know that the best thing you can do is walk out of the barn.
And if we ask what are the cultural resources that can inform and sustain a proper creaturely and stewardly awareness of the lives in a farmer's keeping, I believe that we will find them gathered under the heading of husbandry.
If I was freer than I had ever been in my life, I was not yet entirely free, for I still hung on to an idea that had been set deep in me by all my schooling so far: I was a bright boy and I ought to make something out of myself... something else that would be a cut or two above my humble origins.
Don't own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.
Physical health doesn't exist apart from the health of other things.
Health ultimately involves the community, and the community ultimately involves the place and natural life of that place, so that real health is harmony with the world.
We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time: How much is enough?
We cannot know the whole truth, which belongs to God alone, but our task nevertheless is to seek to know what is true. And if we offend gravely enough against what we know to be true, as by failing badly enough to deal affectionately and responsibly with our land and our neighbors, truth will retaliate with ugliness, poverty, and disease.
What would be the point of being personally whole in a dismembered society, or personally healthy in a land scalped, eroded and poisoned, or personally free in a world entirely controlled by the government or enlightened by television?
The world, which God looked at and found entirely good, we find none too good to pollute entirely and destroy piecemeal.
I would argue that it is not human fecundity that is overcrowding the world so much as the technological multipliers of the power of individual humans. The worst disease of the world now is probably the ideology of technological heroism, according to which more and more people willingly cause large-scale effects that they do not see and that they cannot control. This is the ideology of the professional class of the industrial nations—a class whose allegiance to communities and places has been dissolved by their economic motives and by their educations. These are people who will go anywhere and jeopardize anything in order to assure the success of their careers.
If you establish, or reestablish, local economies on the right scale and with the right standard, then politics would come right as a matter of course. I don't know what you'd call the result - probably not capitalism or socialism.
The question before me, now that I am old, is not how to be dead, which I know from enough practice, but how to be alive, as these worn hills still tell, and some paintings of Paul Cezanne, and this mere singing wren, who thinks he's alive forever, this instant, and may be.
Do not tax your life with forethought of grief.
If conservationists will attempt to resume responsibility for their need to eat, they will be led back fairly directly to all their previous concerns for the welfare of nature.
Let us have the candor to acknowledge that what we call the economy or the free market is less and less distinguishable from warfare.
The world is whole beyond human knowing.
When you have large-scale legitimated violence in a place that is divided as profoundly and bitterly as Kentucky was, the legitimate violence can cause illegitimate violence, a terrible local heartlessness and cruelty that feeds on itself and goes on and on.
This, I thought, is what is meant by 'thy will be done' in the Lord's Prayer, which I had prayed time and again without thinking about it. It means that your will and God's will may not be the same. It means there's a good possibility that you won't get what you pray for. It means that in spite of your prayers you are going to suffer.