Postscript to Wendell Berry's Mad Farmer Manifesto
Walk a mile in the crazy angry farmer's overalls and join
the ranks of perturbed earth-lovers trying to grow majestic
oaks in rank swamp land. Maybe the mad farmer should have
gone Luther on their asses and nailed his manifesto to
every church door in America instead of writing a poem.
Who listens to poets, anyway?
What was this angry agriculturist trying to grow?
Food to nourish the body?
Revolutionaries for the new reality which was never to be?
Maybe just some wacky tobacky?
But the farmer gives good manifesto:
Care more about your unborn grandchildren than yourselves.
Worry about something other than profit.
Next thing, we'll be told to love our neighbor.
Listen up, people! Or to quote another poet: Hark, dumbass!
A manifesto is not a request, a polite suggestion.
A manifesto is a demand, a command.
This isn't pre-season training we're not talking a resurrection
scrimmage if it's practice then when will it be for real when
will it really count this is it death is winning the world is
going to shit we can wallow like pigs enjoying the stench of
our demise or we can crazy-up and recycle that fertilizer to
grow something preposterous.
Don't just talk about theory. Practice.
Don't just give lip service to some future glory that we get
handed to us on a silver platter after we've totally fucked
up this world. If we can't take care of each other why do we
think we'll be allowed to get our grubby little hands on heaven?
Practice resurrection as your profession.
Practice like a doctor and heal wounds,
Practice like a lawyer and seek justice,
Practice like a teacher and tutor thinkers –
God knows thinking is a lost art –
Practice like an artist and create beauty.
Then do it again: learn, improve, repeat.
Be resurgent. Defy death.
The grave would claim us all as fast as we can dig the hole.
Be a resurrectionist and rob the grave of its hold on you.
Don't run willingly to a morose living death. Rise again.
And then again: learn, improve, repeat.
Be insurgent. Cheat death.
Not only rise again from death
But rise up against the forces of death.
Resist that which would kill us.
Practice resurrection. Create Life.
Seek physical touch instead of electronic pokes.
Try to understand someone you think is unhinged.
Relationship immersion: get off face-book
and make a real fucking friend.
Champion a cause. Be more substantive than 140 characters allows.
Belong to community: even rootin' tootin' cowboys need each other.
Get off your ass and do something.
Give the homeless a coat. Give the hungry a meal.
Save the earth. Walk instead of drive.
Deny yourself whale clogging plastic.
Hug a stranger. Just smile at someone, for God's sake –
No. Not for God's sake. For our sake.
Practice resurrection not because some mad farmer,
or some mad God, tells you to.
Practice resurrection because it's the only choice we have left.
Give up negativity. Don't listen to – or propagate – bullshit lies
that will lead to a world filled with nothing
but cockroaches and radiation.
Trust in someone who preaches love instead of fear.
Choose peace over violence. Choose hope over despair.
Even if it doesn't make any sense.
Pay attention to the good in your life.
Get your nose out of the hate and violence
in the newspaper
and go smell a rose.
If you can't choose how you feel, choose what you do.
Do what's right even when it's not easy.
The easy thing is to go for the quick buck.
Plan for a future beyond next quarter's profits
while living today to its fullest.
When part of you dies, reinvent yourself. Live again.
Lose a job? Re-kindle your passion
and let it lead you somewhere new.
Lose a partner? Blindly put your faith in the buoyancy of love
and jump back in the sea.
Take life's leftovers and make resurrection pie.
Ignore what the world would make of you.
Be true to your self.
Create new life.
Listen to the angry crazy poet farmer in your soul!
©2016 Kenneth W. Arthur