Do Not Be Ashamed

February 10 2010

I am increasingly committed to my own genuine experience, to exploring what I actually think and feel and want and aligning my life with that.I guess that's what I'm trying to do, make a map, even though it feels like I am tracing a tantalisingly faint path through a deep dark forest a very long way from civilisation. It's hard to explain just how far out I sometimes feel, how I walk round town and the human race seems so alien to me that I keep waiting for the voiceover that will explain their motivations, habits and behaviour.

Still, I find sometimes in pictures or poetry or music or blogs evidence that there are others out there that are "of my kind" and it comforts me. Here's a poem I like:


You will be walking some night
in the comfortable dark of your yard
and suddenly a great light will shine
round about you, and behind you
will be a wall you never saw before.
It will be clear to you suddenly
that you were about to escape,
and that you are guilty: you misread
the complex instructions, you are not
a member, you lost your card
or never had one. And you will know
that they have been there all along,
their eyes on your letters and books,
their hands in your pockets,
their ears wired to your bed.
Though you have done nothing shameful
they will want you to be ashamed,
they will want you to kneel and weep
and say you should have been like them.
And once you say you are ashamed,
reading the page they hold out to you,
then such light as you have made
in your history will leave you.
They will no longer need to pursue you.
You will pursue them, begging forgiveness.
They will not forgive you.
There is no power against them.
It is only candor that is aloof from them,
only an inward clarity, unashamed,
that they cannot reach. Be ready.
When their light has picked you out
and their questions are asked, say to them:
"I am not ashamed". A sure horizon
will come around you. The heron will begin
his evening flight from the hilltop.

-Wendell Berry


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