Vincent, writing in his journal. Close-up of his hand holding his pen.

He frowned and read through his effort one more time. It wasn't perfect. Mere words were too ... pale. But the pipe tapping was riotous with end-of-day messages. It was nearly five o'clock, the long day without her blessedly over. He should hurry.


"I'm here," she said, alighting from the ladder.

The pearly ray nearly blinded him, stunned him, yet it wasn't the high ocular shining from above. The brilliance was hers and he was lost in it. Their walk to his chamber was a blurred memory – her hand in his, her shoulder brushing his arm ...

"You haven't said a word the whole way home, Vincent." She teased him with her slow smile. Alas, it said, I'm used to waiting ... but no more."

He lifted her chin and kissed her. "I have something for you, something I want you to read. My vow, Catherine. I love you so."

Catherine, beside Vincent's bed, reading from his journal


The Country of Marriage


I dream of you walking at night along the streams
of the country of my birth, warm blooms and the nightsongs
of birds opening around you as you walk.
You are holding in your body the dark seed of my sleep.


This comes after silence. Was it something I said
that bound me to you, some mere promise
or, worse, the fear of loneliness and death?
A man lost in the woods in the dark, I stood
still and said nothing. And then there rose in me,
like the earth's empowering brew rising
in root and branch, the words of a dream of you
I did not know I had dreamed. I was a wanderer
who feels the solace of his native land
under his feet again and moving in his blood.
I went on, blind and faithful. Where I stepped
my track was there to steady me. It was no abyss
that lay before me, but only the level ground.


Sometimes our life reminds me
of a forest in which there is a graceful clearing
and in that opening a house,
an orchard and garden,
comfortable shades, and flowers
red and yellow in the sun, a pattern
made in the light for the light to return to.
The forest is mostly dark, its ways
to be made anew day after day, the dark
richer than the light and more blessed,
provided we stay brave
enough to keep on going in.


How many times have I come to you out of my head
with joy, if ever a man was,
for to approach you I have given up the light
and all directions. I come to you
lost, wholly trusting as a man who goes
into the forest unarmed. It is as though I descend
slowly earthward out of the air. I rest in peace
in you, when I arrive at last.


Our bond is no little economy based on the exchange
of my love and work for yours, so much for so much
of an expendable fund. We don't know what its limits are--
that puts us in the dark. We are more together
than we know, how else could we keep on discovering
we are more together than we thought?
You are the known way leading always to the unknown,
and you are the known place to which the unknown is always
leading me back. More blessed in you than I know,
I possess nothing worthy to give you, nothing
not belittled by my saying that I possess it.
Even an hour of love is a moral predicament, a blessing
a man may be hard up to be worthy of. He can only
accept it, as a plant accepts from all the bounty of the light
enough to live, and then accepts the dark,
passing unencumbered back to the earth, as I
have fallen time and again from the great strength
of my desire, helpless, into your arms.


What I am learning to give you is my death
to set you free of me, and me from myself
into the dark and the new light. Like the water
of a deep stream, love is always too much. We
did not make it. Though we drink till we burst
we cannot have it all, or want it all.
In its abundance it survives our thirst.
In the evening we come down to the shore
to drink our fill, and sleep, while it
flows through the regions of the dark.
It does not hold us, except we keep returning
to its rich waters thirsty. We enter,
willing to die, into the commonwealth of its joy.


I give you what is unbounded, passing from dark to dark,
containing darkness: a night of rain, an early morning.
I give you the life I have let live for the love of you:
a clump of orange-blooming weeds beside the road,
the young orchard waiting in the snow, our own life
that we have planted in the ground, as I
have planted mine in you. I give you my love for all
beautiful and honest women that you gather to yourself
again and again, and satisfy--and this poem,
no more mine than any man's who has loved a woman.

~ Wendell Berry ~

read by Wayne Kelley

If the embedded player doesn't work for you, click HERE to listen.


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Leave a message


Wayne Kelley         2/12/2012 9:30:48 PM
Thanks for all the wonderful comments...I enjoy participating and sharing with all of you, and hope to do even more next year.

underthepark         2/12/2012 5:24:27 PM
I love this story out of pictures and poems, All those beautiful pictures and the readings - and putting them together to such a beautiful story - THANK YOU !!!!!!!

Jeff D.         2/12/2012 11:48:56 AM
Such wonderful reading, Wayne. Thank you very much for sharing!

Mini         2/12/2012 11:00:52 AM
Beautifully read Wayne.....Thank you so very much. Hugs

LauraG         2/12/2012 9:39:34 AM
I have adored every moment of the Poem of the day this WFOL. Stellar job, everyone! Thank you!

Linda S.         2/12/2012 8:30:29 AM
Very beautiful, Wayne. Thank you. This would definitely be a poem Vincent would have read over and over. We can only hope that he read it to Catherine, perhaps in a quiet alcove of the Chamber of the Falls. I close my eyes and play your reading again . . .

Rosemarie S.         2/12/2012 8:00:57 AM
Beautiful reading, Wayne, thank you for bringing V to life in these words.

Rusty/RedNightBird         2/12/2012 7:44:56 AM
Thank-you for breathing life into words....

Julia Passamonti-Colamartino         2/12/2012 6:03:23 AM
So beautifully read Wayne, and you do an amazing job of not only capturing Vincent's voice, but the feeling that he would put into reading such a poem. Kudos! Hugs, Julia