For Mothers Everywhere

CB106347Here’s another great poem by Wendell Berry.  I smiled when I read it because, for nearly five years in Kentucky, I was pastor to his mother, Virginia Berry.  She was everything he says she was here and then some.  But I also smiled because it reminded me so much of my own mother, who forgave me more wrongs than I care to remember, and who—like Wendell’s mother—has long since forgotten them.  So, here’s to you, Virginia, and Mary Rice, and all mothers everywhere. 

God bless you every one.


To My Mother
by Wendell Berry

I was your rebellious son,
do you remember? Sometimes
I wonder if you do remember,
so complete has your forgiveness been.

So complete has your forgiveness been
I wonder sometimes if it did not
precede my wrong, and I erred,
safe found, within your love,

prepared ahead of me, the way home,
or my bed at night, so that almost
I should forgive you, who perhaps
foresaw the worst that I might do,

and forgave before I could act,
causing me to smile now, looking back,
to see how paltry was my worst,
compared to your forgiveness of it

already given. And this, then,
is the vision of that Heaven of which
we have heard, where those who love
each other have forgiven each other,

where, for that, the leaves are green,
the light a music in the air,
and all is unentangled,
and all is undismayed.


“To My Mother” by Wendell Berry, from Entries. © Pantheon Books, 1994.