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The Mad Farmer, Flying the Flag of Rough Branch, Secedes

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Mar 1st, 2016
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  1. The Mad Farmer, Flying the Flag of Rough Branch, Secedes from the Union. By Wendell Berry
  2.  
  3. From the union of power and money
  4. From the union of power and secrecy,
  5. From the union of government and science,
  6. From the union of government and art,
  7. From the union of science and money,
  8. From the union of genius and war,
  9. From the union of outer space and inner vacuity,
  10. The Mad Farmer walks quietly away.
  11.  
  12. There is only one of him, but he goes.
  13. He returns to the small country he calls home,
  14. His own nation small enough to walk across.
  15. He goes shadowy into the local woods,
  16. And brightly into the local meadows and croplands.
  17. He goes to the care of neighbors,
  18. He goes into the care of neighbors.
  19. He goes to the potluck supper, a dish
  20. From each house for the hunger of every house.
  21. He goes into the quiet of early mornings
  22. Of days when he is not going anywhere.
  23.  
  24. Calling his neighbors together in to the sanctity
  25. Of their lives separate and together
  26. In the one life of the commonwealth and home,
  27. In their own nation small enough for a story
  28. Or song to travel across in an hour, he cries:
  29.  
  30. Come all ye conservatives and liberals
  31. Who want to conserve the good things and be free,
  32. Come away from the merchants of big answers,
  33. Whose hands are metalled with power;
  34. From the union of anywhere and everywhere
  35. By the purchase of everything from everybody at the lowest price
  36. And the sale of anything to anybody at the highest price;
  37. From the union of work and debt, work and despair;
  38. From the wage-slavery of the helplessly well-employed.
  39.  
  40. From the union of self-gratification and self-annihilation,
  41. Secede into the care for one another
  42. And for the good gifts of Heaven and Earth.
  43.  
  44. Come into the life of the body, the one body
  45. Granted to you in all the history of time.
  46. Come into the body’s economy, its daily work,
  47. And its replenishment at mealtimes and at night.
  48. Come into the body’s thanksgiving, when it knows
  49. And acknowledges itself a living soul.
  50. Come into the dance of the community, joined
  51. In a circle, hand in hand, the dance of the eternal
  52. Love of women and men for one another
  53. And of neighbors and friends for one another.
  54.  
  55. Always disappearing, always returning,
  56. Calling his neighbors to return, to think again
  57. Of the care of flocks and herds, of gardens
  58. And fields, of woodlots and forests and the uncut groves,
  59. Calling them separately and together, calling and calling,
  60. He goes forever toward the long restful evening
  61. And the croak of the night heron over the river at dark.
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