A Timbered Choir | First Sunday.

A Timbered Choir is one of the two books of poetry I purchased while reading the last chapter of Barbara Brown Taylor’s wonderful An Altar in the World.

It’s subtitled “The Sabbath Poems 1979-1997”. Most Sundays, my poetry is more likely to come from the Psalms, and I liked the idea of reading something contemporary. Even better if it’s focused on the outdoors and the peace and tranquility a quiet walk in the woods might provide.

In his preface, Berry writes

“These poems were written in silence, in solitude, mainly out of doors. A reader will like them best, I think, who reads them in similar circumstances – at least in a quiet room. They would be most favorably heard if read aloud into a kind of quietness that is not afforded by any public place. I hope that some readers will read them as there were written: slowly, and with more patience than effort.”


“…the poems printed here should be thought of as a series, not as a sequence. The poems are about moments when the the heart and mind are open and aware. Such moments, in my experience, are not sequent or consequent in the usual sense. Such a moment is not necessarily the cause or result of another such moment.”

My intent, over these next four Sundays, is to take this book with me to my favorite bench at the park, to read poetry…and then share a little of that experience with you.

For this first Sunday, it seems appropriate to share the poem that Taylor included in her book. It’s the one that drew me to A Timbered Choir in the first place and I think it’s a wonderful place to begin.

What do the tall trees say
To the late havocs in the sky?
They sigh.
The air moves, and they sway.
When the breeze on the hill
Is still, then they stand still.
They wait.
They have no fear. Their fate
Is faith. Birdsong
Is all they’ve wanted, all along.
~ 1991, VIII (p. 134)

10 thoughts on “A Timbered Choir | First Sunday.

  1. I'm so looking forward to your Sunday posts! I only know some of Wendell Berry's fiction and environmental activism, so this is a real treat. I love that he gives "instructions" and background in his preface; it's almost as good as the poem. Thank you for sharing!

  2. I've read some Wendell Berry, but not his poems, thank you for introducing me to his poetry! I just love the title of the book!

  3. I bought The Alter and I think i'll be adding the poetry too…what a treasure trove and the Sundays can't come too soon. Thank you for bringing us this peace , especially now for we sorely need.

  4. Oh the poem you posted is just so beautiful. And Wendell Berry – love his writing…believe I have a book or two of his hiding somewhere in my bedroom. I need to go on a hunt. Looking forward to your Sunday posts.

  5. I recently read an interview with Wendell Barry which left me wanting to read more, learn more about this man. Thank you for reminding me to delve into his poetry now. I look forward to your Sunday poems and thoughts. Thank you.

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